WINGS TO FLY

Business council seeks waivers, tax cuts for regional air transport

Move to support revival of airline sector post Covid-19

In Summary

•The business lobby group has called for waiver on landing fees, excise duty on aviation fuel, navigation, landing and parking to reduce operating costs for airlines.

•The council has also called for reduction of permits and fees for service providers from the EAC region.

Kenya Airways plane Boieng 777-200 ER Photo/file
Kenya Airways plane Boieng 777-200 ER Photo/file

The East African Business Council (EABC) wants regional coordinated approach on the opening of the aviation sector, to bolster consumer confidence and support the sector's recovery.

The business lobby group has called for waiver on landing fees, excise duty on aviation fuel, navigation, landing and parking to cut airline's operating costs.

“In the opening of the regional air transport services, the EAC partner states should consider temporarily granting freedom rights to effectively increase capacity, reduce inefficiencies and costs,” EABC chief executive Peter Mathuki said in a statement.

 

The council has also called for a reduction of permits and fees for service providers from the EAC region.

“The East African Business Council urges the EAC partner states to fast-track opening of air transport services to boost regional trade, tourism and hospitality sectors,” he said.

Domestic flights in Kenya will resume next week Wednesday with skies opening up for international flights on August 1.

This is on “strict conformity with all protocols from the ministry of health, local and international civil aviation authorities, and any additional requirements applicable at the ports of departure, arrival or transit,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Monday.

Tanzania resumed international flights on May 18, chartered flights in Rwanda restarted June 18, with international flights expected to resume on August 1, 2020.

In his 2020/21 budget speech last month , Kenya’s National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the government has waived landing and parking fees at airports in order to facilitate movement of cargo, in and out of Kenya.

“The East African Business Council appreciates the measures by the EAC partner states aimed at supporting the resumption of domestic and international flights in the region, this is vital for the recovery of the aviation sector,”Mathuki said yesterday.

 

Governments have continues to support cargo operations during the Covid-19 period, facilitating trade continuity and exports, mainly fresh produces. 

 Opening of regional aviation sector is expected to stimulate economic activities not only in the sector, but to also in the tourism sector which has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Intra-East African Community trade volumes have reduced to about 40 per cent due to Covid-19 measures.