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In 1995, we launched two unique travel business publications, Africa Travel Magazine and Air Highways Magazine (see web site). Until now Air Highways print editions have focused on North America, plus a special Asia Pacific - APEC Conference Edition. In March, 2006, both prestige magazines combine forces in "Air Highways to Africa." Continued

Airline of the Year 2004 - Final Rankings


Singapore Airlines




Cathay Pacific


Qantas Airways


Thai Airways

Airport of the Year 2004 - Final Rankings


Hong Kong Int'l Airport


Singapore Changi Airport


Amsterdam Schiphol Airport


Seoul Incheon Airport


Kuala Lumpur KLIA Airport

2004 Airline Excellence Awards


Asian Airlines

South America

TAM Brazilian

Regional- Europe

PGA Portugalia

Regional- Europe

SN Brussels Airlines


Air Tahiti Nui


Bangkok Airways

Mid East / Africa

Qatar Airways

North America

JetBlue Airways


Gulf Air

Source: http://www.skytraxsurveys.com/

By Richard Ngovi

In the 1960s it was a common thing to pack your bags, get to the airport and eventually to the aircraft without being stopped by any one other than the customs, immigration and airline personnel. Those luxuries have however faded with time thanks to the ever evolving threats against civil aviation.

Passenger to baggage reconciliation, effective landside/airside barriers, effective access control, screening of passengers cabin and hold luggage, cargo and mail security are just but some of the measures put in place to provide security to civil aviation.

These measures have had their successes in bringing down the number of security incidents in recent years.

It is sad to note that many African states still believe that threats are not directed to Africans and therefore they should not use their meager resources to protect "others". This only serves to worsen the state of affairs. Kenya, for instance has learnt that it is now a direct target by AL-Shaabab terrorist group (Somalia based). This in extension means that African countries under the African Union banner similarly stand under threat from such terrorist groups. It is an open secret that African airports are ill-funded and where this is not the case there lacks political goodwill to address aviation security. Aviation security has not been considered a priority spending area. Indeed it is the cost of these strategies that bog many African countries. It is even worse off if the cost of keeping the strategies afloat do not match the benefits from aviation itself. After all who would want to invest in a venture that does not break-even? The lack of adequate knowledge and capacity to understand and deal with the threats is the major impediment to fully administer adequate and appropriate countermeasures for the threats.

Airports have also been faced by the challenge of infrastructural development and maintenance which more often than not take up huge chunks of their budgets. Airports however have to look at the need for strategies based on risk management that basically looks at what would happen if things went wrong. This will enable them to relook at their priorities.

Kenya Airports Authority is a state-owned corporation with the mandate of developing, managing and maintaining civil aviation airports in Kenya. Being a country that relies heavily on tourism, floriculture and its strategic geographical location as an aviation hub, Kenya treasures the immense contribution of aviation to its gross domestic product. It is therefore ideal to look at the strategies and efforts of the Kenyan airports in protecting the aviation industry from the new and emerging threats.

Notable of Kenya Airports Authority was the shift to new management structures that lay emphasis on performance management as opposed to the old bureaucratic systems that hitherto existed. This has evidently borne some fruits as seen from the steady growth of the organization's key statistics on revenues, passengers and cargo. The authority through coordination of government agencies and stakeholders has been able to provide layered security measures that minimize the chances of perpetrators succeeding in their intentions. For instance, the Immigrations Department is well within the International Civil Aviation 2015 deadline of issuing machine readable passports. Such a move will greatly reduce cases of fraudulent travel documents being used by would-be-perpetrators of terrorist activities. Additionally, there exists a strict vetting procedure for airport workers applying for airport movement permits. This serves as one of the remedies for dealing with insider threats.

Technology has proved to be an all round effective measure to tackle the dynamics of the emerging threats. To achieve this, Kenya Airports Authority has invested heavily in state-of-the-art security equipment such as X-ray machines, explosive trace detectors, full body scanners and surveillance systems. This has and will continue to be enhanced following deliberate benchmarking by the organization on the industry's international best practices in countries like South Korea, Singapore and Israel.

The benefits of training in aviation cannot be overlooked. The airport community at large has been and will continue to be entrenched in the security system through the security awareness programs. Remember airports are more than just terminals and runways. They are busy commercial neighborhoods; and that means we must be vigilant everywhere there is a possible threat. But more specifically the organization has devoted a substantive budget to training of its key security personnel in both theoretical and practical course work. The security staffs are well trained to understand exactly what they are up against…. "If you do not know what you are looking for you will definitely not find it". Kenya Airports Authority is in the process of implementing a Secure Freight Program which is now at an advanced stage. On completion Kenya will be the first country in the region to boast of this system. A great plus indeed.

The airport authority has played a pivotal role in the regional integration process in East Africa. The efforts of Civil Aviation Authorities and airport authorities from the member States, i.e Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, brought about the birth of Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA). CASSOA has the responsibility of harmonizing regulations, standards and procedures for the member states as far as aviation safety and security is concerned. This in the long run will enhance positive sharing of resources in the region.

The strategies outlined above are just but a few that African States can adopt in ensuring that they keep pace with the ever evolving threats in the aviation industry.

African countries need to understand that their nations are their most valued treasure; and should therefore not treat things that concern their motherland lightly.

Open Sky and Tourism Development
by Christian Folly-Kossi Secretary General of Afraa

The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) is highly honored to be invited and associated to this wonderful event of ATA in Accra. I am particularly delighted to address this conference in Ghana, a country of reference for its African soul, history, culture and political inspiration. It is indeed a great honor but at same time an uphill challenge to take the floor before this august Assembly of Ministers of Tourism, experts and professionals to address a core topic of their competence; the way forward for Air Transport and Tourism development in Africa.

Many questions naturally roam around: Can open sky policy contribute to an effective upturn in African tourism? Are high air fares major impediments to the blossoming of African Tourism? Why after 50 years of independence and self governance, most of African countries are still loitering and questing for the right market and attractive tourism development strategy? These questions need to be squarely answered without complacency if Africa really wants to pave the way to tourism development.

1. African poor performance and easy scapegoats

2. Products and best practices in the profession

3. Afraa recommendations

African poor performance and easy scapegoats

Tourism is one of the biggest and fasted developing industries in the world: generating total revenue of about $500 billion in 2004. Out of this huge turnover, Africa accounts for a mere $7.5 billion which represent 2.5% of the world tourism revenue. In term of traffic, the number of tourists recorded in 2004 was 750 millions in the world out of which barely 25 millions (4.5%) visited Africa.

These African Tourists travel to very few countries across the continent, which ranks as follows:

South Africa 6,1 millions

Egypt 5.5 millions

Morocco 5 millions

Tunisia 5 millions

Zimbabawe 1 million

Other countries that received significant but less than one million tourists in 2004, include:

. Kenya and Tanzania

. Botswana

. Mauritius

. Nigeria

. Senegal and

. Ghana

In most of the countries in Africa, the yearly tourism traffic computed so far is between one and twenty thousands. The question is why are these countries not moving forward so as to take their faire share in this growing service industry, which does not require any high technology and so remains one of the most accessible economic development sectors to developing countries?

We do not probably fully realize in Africa the macroeconomic development potentials of the tourism industry. It is our dear wish to receive tourists but, have we ever designed and put in place any policy and strategy to effectively achieve this objective?

For instance, countries that put their hope for salvation in oil production invite experts from all corners of the world to undertake research and exploration across their territories. Do we witness such mobilization of specialists to organize our tourism and dig out its wealth?

I am confident that this ATA event is meant to strongly contribute to such a move.

Allow me at this juncture, to take the opportunity to put into perspective some misleading analysis on the lack of development of African Tourism.

Many in their quarters blame the poor development of African tourism on high air fares and also believe that an open sky policy would be a panacea for the continent. I wish to touch briefly on these subjects with you.

Air Fares

The Tourism market is one of the most globalized in the world. In the decision making process of a tourist travelers, the whole world has become a small village - distance or cost ceases to be determining factor. The choice of a destination by a tourism is driver by its attractiveness in terms of the facilities, convenience, accessibility and uniqueness. Cost consideration and air fare rank secondary in the choice of a destination for most tourists.

It is for this reason, that South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and Kenya receive more European tourists that Mauritania, Mali, Niger and even Ghana and Togo though the air fares to the latter countries are normally lower because of the comparative proximity to Europe.

It is against the same background that Americans and Europeans tourists fly more often to Asia than to Africa despite the longer distance and higher air fare.

Open Sky policy is not a major driver of tourism development in the existing African environment. In fact, open sky policy is expected to pave the way for more air services, more competition and to cheapen air fares which would stimulate the tourist traffic.

The reality is that without attractive packaged tourist products on site, no tourist traffic can be generated and therefore no airline would be willing to lay-on services despite the open sky policy. For example, countries such a as Tanzania, Mali, and Cape Verde have signed an open sky agreements with the USA without any positive impact on their tourism industry. The signing of open agreements must be backed by a concerted effort by the State and the industry players to work together in offering comprehensive products that are unique, attractive and competitive.

Ironically, since Ghana signed the Open sky agreement with the USA, the number of direct flights operating between Ghana and the USA has dramatically reduced. Though the number of American tourists visiting Ghana might have increased over the years, the growth may be attributed to the creativity and ingenuity of the Ministry of Tourism through events such as Panafest and other cultural and ecotourism festivals that the country markets globally.

Air fares and open sky policy are parameters that can help enhance tourism in an attractive environment. They are not major tourism development drivers. Once a destination offers most of the attractions tourists are looking for, people will want to visit them irrespective of the costs and the associated difficulties of getting there. The sole and unique driver of tourism therefore is the product package that a destination offers. It should meet the expectations of the market.

Products and best practices in the profession

Two types of personalities are involved in mass tourism travels. A full time worker who has saved money the whole year to travel for his holiday and a retired person who has saved his whole life, has now time and would like to tour the world. The demand of these two clients is the same;

1. They want fun, a break, a change in their life for a week or two. As tourist guests, they want to be pampered, taken care of and kept busy all days through a diversity of visits, discoveries and fun.

2. Though they are highly interested in wild life and other natural sites, they would like to continue enjoying the same level of comfort they have at home and even more. This includes hotel accommodation, food and restaurant, ground transport, telecommunication facilities (phone, internet, etc.) and last but not the least, security.

This list of requirements clearly shows that natural landscapes, mountains, sea shores or wild life by themselves would not yield tourism development, no matter how beautiful they are, unless an appropriate environment is created around them, to provide dreaming holiday time, fun, break and change.

Most African countries have left their natural tourist attractions in their original state without any such additional touches to make them actual tourist resorts, where people can enjoy and rejoice. Here are the main reasons for the poor tourism performance of most African countries.

In addition, high visa fees, airport taxes and difficulties in securing visas all reduce the attractiveness of some African destinations to tourists and particularly to African tourists.

Physical infrastructure development in many parts of Africa is inadequate. Roads, rails infrastructure, particularly to tourist sites outside the main cities are mostly in deplorable states. This makes visits to tourists sites located outside the cities not only expensive but also sometimes risky.

There is also inadequate provision of security, public health care and institutional capacity building in this profession in many parts of Africa. This deters some visitors.

Good hotel accommodation is also difficult to find in many areas. With tourism in Africa expected to grow to 47 million by 2010, are we putting plans in place to provide the corresponding levels of quality hotels accommodation?

If infrastructure fails to match demand, either now or in the future, we cannot achieve any meaningful growth of this industry

Packaging of the tourist product

The various players in the industry; transporters, hoteliers, tour operators, restaurants, amusement centers, etc. operate independently of each other. For instance in many African countries, tourists have to make their own hotel reservations, plan their own ground transportation and movement, decide where to eat, etc. This creates a lot of avoidable stress and inconvenience.

The lack of properly packaged tourist products robs the tourism industry of the benefits of synergy and economies of scale, which otherwise could have been passed on to them in the form of lower tour packages.

We are convinced that working together, the stakeholders in this industry can make African tourism very competitive. After all, Africa is richly endowed with beautiful coastlines, wildlife, nature and diverse cultures, which are to some extend unique to the continent.

AFRAA recommendations

1. Creation of tourism development authorities

In the African Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) tourism is viewed as one of the most important sectors that can contribute to the overall development of the continent. As such, the tourism sector should be organized and run as a business project, autonomous from Government's general administration with its own budget, objective and economic result targets.

Such an autonomous body would access all the needs and requirements for appropriate tourism development and take initiatives to be responsive to these needs. These initiatives should include:

. Road reconstruction (pavement)

. Hotel and lodge construction

. Wild life reserves and parks organization

. Cleaning of the sea shores and other tourist sites

. Road transport arrangements

. Financial support and incentive to private sector to get fully involved

2. Security Enhancement

African countries must heighten the security and protection provided for their tourist guests The police presence and security assurance should be visible all over so as to make tourists feel confident and comfortable.

Harassment by beggars along streets and cross roads should be seriously dealt with to avoid all sorts of embarrassment. Road transport charges should be fixed, published and controlled so as to avoid cheating of foreigners


3. Promotion on Overseas Markets

Tourism development authorities will have to use experts of the main tourist markets such as those of ATA to help them understand the motivations of the tourists, assess their expectations and design with the intelligence of these insiders, the appropriate products to offer.

Once the products are defined, they would need to be promoted on over sea markets with the assistance of the same associate experts.

Events such a as African days should be organized on site in the US and European countries with African cultural performances.

We need to penetrate the restaurant sector in the US, Europe, and Asia with African cuisine and entertainment so as to slowly incite the general public to visit Africa without apprehension. These types of action should be directly initiated, engineered and monitored by the tourism development authorities

4. Development of a New Air Transport Policy and Creation of Strong Carriers

Across the world, there is no tourism thriving country without at least a strong national carrier to back the economic performance of the sector. In Africa for instance, the top tourist countries have the most important airlines. They are South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya and Mauritius.

The Tourists traffic increases the activities of the airline and most of the time, the domestic airline airline operations enlarge the scope of products that the country can offer nationwide and the tourists feel save to deal with the same carrier that has an office in their countries back home.

Reliable air services and national airline development must definitively be part of the agenda of the tourism development authorities.

Once the traffic is there, it would not matter how many carriers are operating, competition would prevail and air services will improve and costs reduce for the benefits of the travelers and also for a much more developed tourism and airline industries.

State of Air Transport Industry in Africa

I wish to say a word on the state of the airline industry in Africa in this area of globalization.

As it is showing on the map before you, most of African countries' skies are dominated by European carriers. In the West and Central Africa, they provide the only links with the rest of the world.

Even on Intra-African routes, our airlines don't operate reliable air services across the sub-regions. They are actually too small to be effectively responsive to the market's needs. As they are now, they cannot really drive any intra- African tourism development.

Currently, all the African major players, such as Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Royal Air Maroc, South African Airways and Afriqiyah are enlarging their networks to all destinations in this region. Emirates are expanding tremendously on the same routes. Delta Airlines has announced operations from the USA.

There no doubt, this region has turned to be an air traffic gold mine but the local economic operators don't know ow how to transform it into wealth.

This will never happen unless:

- We address the airlines small size issue

- We stop believing in the ideology of "Do it alone and by yourself"

-Governments take out their hands from the business management and facilitate privatization

-Private interests across borders team up to create in the region multinational private carriers.

In any case, the Yamoussoukro Decision which is the Continent liberalization program for African carriers must fully and totally implemented so as to enhance the number of air services across the continent, what is dearly need to speed up Africa economic integration, political Union and Tourism development.


I have deliberately escaped from the narrow areas of high fares and open sky where usually tourism and airline experts undertake endless debates.

I am actually more interested in development strategies in your section because, tourism ranks among the few gold mines that Africa can easily explore and derive wealth from

Tourism prosperity would be that of the airlines and I believe that the airline industry is indispensable for the continent economic integration and development.

As you can see, Tourism and Airline Industries are key factors for the continent's economic salvation. We need to realize it and work together hand in hand toward this