Plans are underway to reduce air travel charges in East Africa to ease the free movement of people, goods and services.
The process includes the harmonisation of air travel policies of each partner state, examination of the factors that determine air ticket costs and development of uniform air travel regulations.
A meeting of Transport and Communication ministers from the EAC partner states chaired by Kenya has since issued a directive to the East African Community secretariat to initiate the process.
“It was proposed that the EAC Secretariat convenes the meeting in consultation with the hosting Partner States and the outcomes of the Forum be channelled to EAC policy organs through the Sub-committee on Air Transport,” said Wavinya Ndeti, Kenya’s chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, adding, “On Liberalisation of Air Transport in the EAC, the regulations have been developed and the process of finalising these regulations is ongoing.”
The 17th sectoral council of EAC on Transport, Communications and Meteorology, chaired by Kenya’s CAS Ms Ndeti also directed partner states through the EAC Secretariat to review and harmonise charging mechanisms, fees and taxes to reduce ticket costs and increase demand for air travel.
“We are aware of the directive and the transport and communications ministers are due for another meeting probably before the end of the year to provide the policy framework under which the changes would take place,” said Peter Mathuki, EAC Secretary General.
EAC has one of the most expensive flight routes in the world per seat costs led by the Nairobi to Entebbe, Nairobi to Kigali and Nairobi to Dar es Salaam routes.
Air transport in East Africa in general is expensive by international standards going by the current high passenger airfares and freight charges. The expensive rates on both passenger and cargo flights contribute to the high cost of doing business in the region.