CASSOA UNDER FIRE OVER EXTORTIONATE FEE DEMANDS
The East African Communitys Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency has come under severe criticism by a broad section of aviation and tourism stakeholders for their demand to load already mountainous surcharges and fees with a further 0.70 US Dollars to finance their operations. The agency, swift in applauding itself to even being there, has drawn fire from air operators for failing to implement a single system across Eastern Africa for regulatory approvals and licenses, which still remain in the domain of national civil aviation regulators, keen to protect their turf but in the process forcing costly duplications for airlines wishing to operate from other member states than the one initially registered. We are disappointed with this state of affairs. The East African airspace is still a closed shop from country to country and the freedom of operations the regulators dangled in front of our noses has never taken place. Besides going to our own CAA we now also need to go to CASSOA and yet if we want to set up shop in a neighbouring country we have to start from scratch again with an ASL and an AOC instead of recognizing our licenses and permits from our home countries. They are telling us that they have their own due diligence to carry out, but in effect they are saying that they do not trust their colleagues who work under the same regulations, or otherwise it is simply a money making machine. We oppose the demand for even more fees on air tickets. Fees and charges often double the air fare an airline charges and they wonder why not more people travel by air. It is the cost of regulatory charges and fees and taxes which hamper growth for aviation, nothing else a regular contributor from Nairobi told this correspondent when meeting in Kenyas capital over the weekend, vowing to mobilize the industry across the region and lobby the national parliaments and EAC legislative assembly to halt the fees which according to a CASSOA source is due to raise nearly 15 million US Dollars. Added the source: They launch new bodies all the time, purporting to make doing business easier, but it becomes just more red tape and they fail to financially facilitate those new chaps. Now they come begging. If the member states fail to pay up their committed dues, they look at businesses to dig for funds.
CASSOA is located in Entebbe and there to serve the region though it was hoped that the national regulators would progressively be integrated in a single East African Civil Aviation Authority with national branches, something which met cunning resistance over fear of losing juicy jobs as synergy effects would cut down on the wide spread duplication and multiplication of functions from country to country. Watch this space.