Stakeholders in Africa’s aviation sector have canvassed the need for governments in the continent to review downwards some taxes on airlines, travellers and other air travel-related businesses as a strategic step towards growing the sector.
The stakeholders at the weekend also urged African government to stop seeing air transport as luxury service, but as a economic development booster for most economies.
They therefore urged the various governments to make air travels cheap by lowering the taxes on travelers and airlines to encourage air travels in the continent.
In his remarks, the Secretary General of Airports Council International (ACI), Africa, Mr. Ali Tounsi, who championed the low tax regime advocacy, advocated for African airports increased focus on non-aeronautical revenues as they can help in, “recovering operating costs and reduce the use of aviation taxes for future airport development.”
Tounsi noted that currently African airports had the greatest reliance on aeronautical revenue than airports in other regions.
The industry expert pointed out that whereas non-aeronautical revenue promised a higher profit margin and thus had the potential to contribute more to financial sustainability and the capacity to withstand traffic volatility at the airports .
Commenting on the aviation sector tax regime in the continent, the Chief Operating Officer of Overland Airways, Mrs. Aanu Benson, called for remedial measures such as tax breaks and elimination of multiple taxation on African airlines.
According to her, taking such fiscal measures “will go a long way to encourage African airlines to develop new routes and invariably, enable the success of Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).”
Also, the Vice President, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Africa, Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi, lamented the high cost of air travels in Africa when compared with the costs in other climes.
She clarified: “It is 45 per cent more expensive to fly around Africa than to fly to other parts of the world from Africa. Every additional tax makes the difference in determining whether or not a passenger will fly.”