- In a statement, EABC urged the EAC partner States to prioritize and fast-track the unconditional re-opening of regional air transport services , in line with the World Health Organisation guidelines and measures.
- With the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, regional trade is expected to decline by 50 per cent this year.
The East African Business Council (EABC) has called for a coordinated approach on the resumption of regional air services so as to spur intra-EAC trade and revive the tourism and hospitality sector heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, EABC urged the EAC partner States to prioritize and fast-track the unconditional re-opening of regional air transport services , in line with the World Health Organisation guidelines and measures.
The council congratulated Kenya and Rwanda on the resumption of international flights today.
“These are important steps towards the recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors, however, the differences emerging in regional air transport services among some partner states are set to adversely affect the rebound of business in the region,”said Peter Mathuki, Executive Director,EABC.
According to the EAC Trade and Investment Report, Intra EAC trade stood at $5.98 billion(Sh644billion) in 2018.
With the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, regional trade is expected to decline by 50 per cent this year.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the EAC Partner States will potentially lose upwards of US$5.4 billion(Sh581.5billion) of tourist local spending for the year 2020 under scenarios of protracted closures and restrictions of seaports and airports.
The impact of COVID-19 has led to a decline in the number of air passengers hence an approximate $0.54 billion(Sh58.1billion) revenue loss was projected in Kenya risking 137,965 jobs while US$20.4 million(Sh2.1 billion) base revenues loss, risking 3,000 jobs was projected in Rwanda.
The re-opening of regional air transport services will integrate the regional logistics value chains for increased exports of fresh produce, regional tourism and enable service providers to tap into the larger EAC market.
This is set to bolster business continuity and resilience to sustain livelihoods and jobs.
In addition, the EAC Partner States should consider temporarily granting the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) 5th to 9th Freedom rights to effectively increase capacity, reduce inefficiencies and costs; waive landing fees, excise duty on aviation fuel, navigation, landing, parking and COVID-19 related fees to reduce operating costs; and the reduction of permit and fees for service providers from the EAC region.