Tewolde GebremariamToronto, Canada – Mr. Tewelde Gebre-Mariam, President and CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, noted on Wednesday that aviation industry was driving Africa’s growth and integration. In his key note address at the 2014 Canada-Africa Business Summit in Toronto, he stressed the need for stronger partnerships between African airlines.

He also said that Canada could assist African airlines with safety expertise, security, training, infrastructure financing, sharing best experiences and commercial access. He briefed the challenges affecting Africa’s aviation industry.

These include: high oil prices, taxes and charges, limited infrastructure unable to keep pace with growing demand, lack of economic integration in Africa, immigration, bilateral air transport restriction, no common African aviation policy, shortage of foreign currency, little cooperation among African airlines as well as poor ICT infrastructure. He detailed the worrying trends including high fares, low connectivity within Africa, weak competitive position with non-African carriers and record of value destruction.

He further put forward that liberalizing African skies for African airlines, investing more in infrastructure, deploying latest technology, employing innovation and strong partnership among African airlines, ensuring safety and security as well as taxing less would avoid the worrying trends and challenges facing African air transportation.

Following his presentation, Mr. Sameer Adam, Director, Sales, Bombardier, made a key note address on air transportation. Mr. Adam said that Bombardier had strategic cooperative partnership with Ethiopian Airlines with the view to help support its paramount role of connecting Africa. He added that Bombardier was committed to contribute to aircraft safety and create sustainable aerospace industry through empowering airline workforce. On the same day, the Summit featured sessions, including energy, infrastructure, ICT, finances and natural resources.

Source: Government of Ethiopia

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