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Lack of free skies permit to local airlines killing traffic in Africa— Ethiopian Airlines’ MD

The core reason frustrating growth of intercontinental traffic has been unveiled by the Managing Director of Ethiopian Airlines’ International Services, Esayas Wolde Mariam Hailu.

In an interview, he lamented what he described as easy access to foreign airlines to African skies and strenuous access to the same skies by Africans.

Addressing journalists at the airline’s head office in Addis Ababa, Hailu noted that the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988, in which many African countries agreed to principles of air services liberalisation would improve air traffic on the continent.

According to him, “Africa is one continent; that is why people are talking about Africa Union. Free skies for African carriers have already been agreed and ratified by all individual governments and some have adopted it and some have not.

“So, when we have challenges of traffic right, we should try to surmount that problem with bilateral negotiation with that particular country. Some African countries while granting free skies to other airlines, which are coming from overseas, are not giving it to their own fellow African carriers. Because of that, African airlines put together have only 20 per cent of the global market share; it is very unfortunate.”

However, Hailu hinted the readiness of African airline to take it upon themselves in ensuring that Africa’s traffic is driven by African airlines by way of establishing regional carriers such as Asky, which operates in West Africa.

Continuing, the Ethiopian Airlines boss averred that “The Yamoussoukro Declaration is very important and whosoever has not been part of it, it is high time for them to come in, it is very important”.