“In Africa, air transport is the most viable means of transport”

Tewolde Gebremariam                                                                                                                                         CEO, Ethiopian Airlines

What is your insight about the African aviation industry and what are the key advancements and challenges of the industry in the continent?

It’s a very exciting time for African aviation industry. However, Africa is still contributing little to the global aviation industry with only 3% as compared to all global traffic. Nevertheless, the growth is very encouraging. With more investments coming to the continent from China and India which is expected to drive the continent’s development; air traffic in Africa is also expected to grow. In Africa air transport is the most viable means of transport as others are very under developed. Among the many challenges facing the aviation sector is that for the longest time, the industry lacked the necessary attention it deserves from African heads of states as it has always been considered a luxurious means of transport. Others include high taxation levied at times equal to cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, low connectivity within the continent, and expensive jet fuel with a cost 30% higher in Africa than the rest of the world; as well as infrastructure problems and expensive services. These results in high operation costs which are then transferred to the customers, making air transport unaffordable by many thus creating a vicious circle of challenges. However, despite these challenges, progress of the industry has to do with good safety records that has improved over the last few years. Today, many African airlines including Ethiopian airlines, South African Airways, Egypt Air, Kenya Airways, Air Morocco, Tunisiair, and TAAG Angola meet the global standards of safety records. Connectivity has also increased especially between African countries and the rest of the world.

What needs to be done to make easier, accessible and affordable transportation system within Africa and beyond?

Government’s attention to the aviation industry and infrastructural developments are the key solutions to make easier, accessible, and affordable transportation system within and outside of the continent.

How do you see the future of the hospitality industry in the coming ten years, and how can Africa attract more travelers from the continent and from the rest of the world?

Out of the total global tourists, only 55 million tourists visit Africa annually which is much less than the rest of the world (more than a billion tourists annually). However, progress has been noted on the continent with more African destinations becoming popular globally. The hotel industry infrastructure development has also grown tremendously, with more chain hotels (365 pipelines in 2016) coming to Africa and bringing encouraging results on the continental hospitality industry. The current initiatives to develop infrastructure are popularizing African destinations, and in a short period of time the continent will see a booming hospitality industry attracting travelers from across the world.

[box] Tewolde Gebremariam CEO, Ethiopian Airlines[/box]

Article First Published by Jumia Travel


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