One needs to break a bank in order to travel by air within or from the East Africa. In this region, flying can get really expensive, thanks to the myriad and high airport taxes charged at terminals.
According to the East African Business Council, passenger taxes on regional departures are charged at US $ 46.16 while international departures demand US $ 48 in taxes. Passengers are also being subjected to transfer and arrival taxes and fees.
“The average airport charges in Eastern Africa are extremely high at US $ 579.78 increasing air passenger ticket and cargo costs and impacting the competitiveness of the community,” pointed out John Bosco Kalisa, the Executive Director for the East African Business Council.
Unlike the case of Daedalus and Icarus, wings of flying East Africans are not melted by raising temperatures but rather by rising taxes.
And in region which is struggling hard to attract tourists and investments, this can be bad news.
The Arusha-based EABC appeals for the reduction of air-related fees and taxes to reduce the cost of air transport in East Africa. Apparently, air taxes and fees compose 50 percent of air tickets costs.
African Airlines Association, reports that in 2020 Africa recorded US $.10.21 billion passenger revenue loss.
Apart from passengers’ taxes levied directly on the ticket, airlines are also charged noise, parking, common user terminal equipment, jet way charge, passenger bus, lighting further increasing their operating costs.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to RwandAir offices in Kigali, the EABC Executive urged the Ministers in charge of Transport in the EAC Partner States to reduce and align the air parking, landing, navigation, handling fees and taxes in order to increase traffic volumes and build resilience and recovery of the air transport sector.
Chief Executive of Rwandair, Yvonne Makolo, on the other hand reminded that air travel is not a luxury but a necessity, therefore the region needs to change its old mind-set over this.
RwandAir which achieved Diamond status in the APEX Health Safety audit has meanwhile diversified to new routes such as Goma, Luanda, Maputo, Accra and Libreville in Africa.
The East African Community once operated joint regional airline