Air Transport World

Same old song: African carriers mull 'desperate fight for survival' amid growing competition and a fund shortage. (airlines struggle with regulations, consider greater cooperation)

Grand bay, Mauritius--"African airlines are still characterized by a high degree of government intervention and control, heavy indebtedness, aging and noisy aircraft and a very low share--about 3%--of the global aviation market," Sir Harry Tirvengadum, chairman and managing director of Air Mauritius, told the 28th Annual General Assembly of the African Airlines Assn. The president of AFRAA said the African airline industry 'continues to lead a desperate fight for its survival, let alone growth, in the face of increasing competition from major foreign carriers and a continuous shortage of funds to finance fleet replacement."

Urging African airlines to be more business-oriented and to become financially stable, profitable and capable of sustained growth, Tirvengadum said that these objectives could be achieved best through privatization as this is the only way to attract African and foreign venture capital. "We must be able to stand on our own feet and not depend on state or other subsidy," he declared. While interline cooperation can be very useful to improve the situation, he warned that no amount of good will will ensure success unless each party finds a benefit in the cooperation.

In his report on the state of African airlines, Secretary General Capt. …

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