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East African Community urged to lower cost of air transport

John Bosco Kalisa, EABC chief executive officer.

Arusha, Tanzania | Xinhua | The East African business body has urged member states of the East African Community (EAC) to have a Single Air Transport Services Agreement aimed at lowering the cost of air tickets for both passengers and cargo in the region.

The East African Business Council (EABC) said in a statement issued late Wednesday that limited infrastructure, lack of standardized regulations, and high air transport costs are among the challenges affecting the air transport sector in the EAC.

John Bosco Kalisa, the EABC chief executive officer, appealed to EAC leaders to agree on offering preferential and national treatment to EAC airlines, saying foreign airlines enjoy more favorable treatment than EAC airlines.

“The region can start offering preferential and national treatment to EAC cargo planes to boost exports,” said Kalisa.

The statement said limited liberalization of air transport contributes to high flight ticket rates, and visa restrictions limit the movement of non-residents into the EAC region.

Kalisa urged EAC member states of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda to fast-track the finalization and implementation of EAC Regulations on the Liberalization of Air Transport Services in line with the EAC Common Market Protocol.

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