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Kenya: Tourism stakeholders call for faster adoption of open skies policy

Hoteliers in the region are calling for the open skies policy to be adopted more quickly.

The urgent call comes a few weeks before the launching of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) on January 28 at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The implementation of the SAATM is being welcomed by air travellers as it is expected to lower to cost of air travel on the continent and increase the number of air routes.

Hasnain Noorani, the Managing Director of the Pride Inn group of hotels, explained that the faster implementation of the said policy would help increase hotel booking in the region.

“Reducing air access limitations related to air travel will be imperative in attracting more global visitors.

“To accelerate sustainability of tourism development at the Coast, the government ought to open up skies in Mombasa so that airlines from across the world can operate flights to Moi International Airport,” stated Noorani.

The SAATM would be realized through the successful implementation of the 1999 Yammousoukro decision, which paves the way for the full liberalization of intra-African air transport services in terms of market access, the free exercise of first, second, third, fourth and fifth freedom traffic rights for scheduled and freight air services by eligible airlines.

Amani Abu-Zeid, the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the Africa Union Commission, said that fifth traffic freedom rights would allow African carriers to fly between two other African countries with flights originating or ending in its own country.

Kenya is one of the 23 African states that had committed itself to the implementation of the decision by December 2017 .

Other African countries that have done the same include Benin, Botswana, Capo Verde, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.

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