More tax assaults planned on airlines as EAC too tries to get lucky


(Posted 08th May 2014)

Airlines in the region, while still officially mulling over the issue, have in private through regular sources made it clear that they are livid about plans by the East African Community to slap an added tax on air tickets, making air transport yet more expensive after adding regulatory fees and airport charges to tickets often outstripping the fare itself by more than double.

The East Africa Community in its latest meeting in Arusha was reported to have openly contemplated to impose a tax on air tickets, following the line introduced by the African Union, which too sees aviation as ready made cow to be milked, while doing little if anything to feed that proverbial cow.

Opposition to the AU attempt was equally swift when the recently concluded 56th Commission for Africa meeting by the UNWTO in Luanda / Angola firmly opposed such measures and the just ended 3rd Convention for Aviation Suppliers and Stakeholders by AFRAA also left no doubt that the airline industry in Africa continues to need government support and not additional taxes. If Africa’s’ aviation sector is to survive the massive onslaught of European legacy and the giant Gulf carriers, which now uplift around 80 percent of the traffic in and out of Africa already, all to the detriment of developing a sound and viable aviation industry on the continen,t it needs policies to strengthen them and widen their source market, something only thought possible by a business environment which allows a lowering of fares and related costs, like fuel, ground handling, navigation and other regulatory charges and of course taxation.

While, when the official positions are made public, likely in conjunction with AFRAA, Africa’s premier body for advocacy and lobbying on behalf of the airlines, the words will no doubt be more carefully chosen and express the airline’s distaste and disapproval in diplomatic language, initial reactions from key contacts were abuzz with four letter words when asking for a reaction on the EAC’s attempt to stick their fingers into the airline coffers. Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.

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