Stakeholders from the East African countries are meeting in Kigali to discuss possible modalities to harmonise regional air transport regulations and liberalise the air transport sector.
If the regulations are harmonised, all physical barriers at the borders would be abolished and planes will use the skies of all regional countries without restriction.
This, according to experts, will ease the transportation of goods, people, and services within the region.
The Deputy Secretary General of EAC in charge of Political Federation, Beatrice Kiraso, noted that the air sector is significant and cannot be ignored, adding that harmonisation would be a great catalyst for regional integration.
“The sector is critical and if well managed and regulated, would greatly contribute to the well-being of the people of East Africa by offering quick, easy and cost effective transport options,” she said.
“The contribution of this sector to tourism, horticultural development, regional investments, employment and skills development cannot be underestimated.”
Eng. Ladislaus E. Matindi, a Principal Civil aviation Officer at the EAC Secretariat, said in an interview, that there was need for a regional level discussion towards embracing a common approach to reverse the existing barriers in the sector.
“The only way is to come up with the common solution to solve the existing physical barriers that slows the development of the sector,” he said.
The sector is also affected by poor infrastructure and high transportation fares, among others.
Clairette Matama Ngabo, the Director of Competition and Consumer Protection in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, welcomed the move adding that it would help provide quality services for consumers and have a positive impact to the economy.
“If the regulations are harmonised, it will be a great achievement to traders because there will be innovation that will bring (about) quality services to the consumers. Low fares and tariffs will encourage people to enter into the market and this will boost the economy,” she said.