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Africa's tourism will only grow with a stable aviation sector

Nov 02 2014 13:46
Carin Smith

Flic en Flac (Mauritius) – Only when Africa can offer safe, reliable and affordable aviation on the map will it see its local industry starting to develop more, according to Nico Bezuidenhout, CEO of Mango.

He took part in a panel discussion by airline CEOs during the 44th Airlines Association of Southern Africa (Aasa) annual general meeting.

For Ben Dahwa, CEO of Air Botswana, the key issue is to get governments to commit to the direction an airline has taken.

“Too often changes in government officials interrupt progress that had been made in an airline’s policy,” said Dahwa.
For aviation expert Professor Nawal Taneja, it is important for governments to realise what is needed for an airline to succeed.

“A policy has to remain even if a government changes once it has been agreed that it is the best policy. We have to have every state agency aligned behind that,’’ said Silvain Bosch, chief commercial officer of South African Airways (SAA).

“We need to make sure government realises aviation is key to the economy.”

Inati Ntshanga, CEO of SA Express, in turn warned that policy makers must be careful not to cause a change in choice of an aviation hub by implementing restrictive policies, like regarding visas.

“We must make sure there is enough and speedy talks by all stakeholders on policy issues so that we don’t end up losing out due to things that are not implementable,” said Ntshanga.

For Bezuidenhout, it is important to realise that SAA contributes to about 36 000 jobs in SA.

“If there are conflicting policies, then everybody pulls and pulls and nothing happens. On the other hand one needs to understand what the value is of having an airline that works well,” said Bezuidenhout.

Andre Viljoen, CEO of Air Mauritius and former CEO of SAA, explained that Air Mauritius decided to create a very good relationship with Emirates Airlines, although the latter is actually a competitor in the Mauritius market.

“Yet, by letting Emirates in, we realised we can also reap the added reward of a greater positive impact on the tourism industry of Mauritius,” explained Viljoen.

 

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mango  |  saa  |  sa express  |  aviation industry
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