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Kenya decries high airline fares within East Africa Community

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Thursday decried the East Africa Community (EAC)’s high airline fares that remain beyond the reach of ordinary citizens.

James Macharia, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, told a media briefing in Nairobi that the EAC economies depend on aviation as a vital means of transport for exports of perishables, high-value items and most of all passengers.

“Whereas it is recognized as the safest means of transport, the EAC region needs to review aviation operations in order to make it more affordable and accessible to the populace,” Macharia said during the Fourth East African Community (EAC) Aviation Symposium whose theme is “Aviation Safety: A Collaborative Approach”.

He said that by making airline fares cheaper, it will ensure that the benefits of aviation can be appreciated by all citizens.

He called on the trading bloc to eliminate all bottlenecks that impede free movement of people in the region for the benefit of airline passengers.

“This will enhance a common market completely transforming what used to be fragmented and protected national markets into one of the world’s largest, liberal and integrated regional aviation markets,” he added.

Macharia said the EAC will collectively benefit from the new opportunities presented through collaboration.



UN agency hails E. Africa’s aviation safety standards

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN specialized agency on civil aviation on Thursday hailed the East Africa Community (EAC)’s aviation safety record.

Barry Kashambo, the regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) told an aviation forum in Nairobi that the high standards has been validated by the continued progress in the ICAO safety audits taken in the last four years.

“Four out of the five audited EAC states are among the 12 that are above 60 percent effective implementation score in the Eastern and Southern Africa,” Kashambo said.

“This translates in 80 percent of the audited states being above the Abuja target of ensuring that Africa’s aviation accident rate be in line with global average by end of 2015,” he said during the occasion of the official opening of the fourth EAC Symposium on Aviation Safety.

The two-day symposium was organized by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Safety Oversight Agency (CASSOA), the administrative agency of the East African Community (EAC) that focuses on safe and secure development of aviation in the region.

The regional aviation conference brought over 300 delegates from East Africa and across the world to review ways to improve aviation safety in the EAC.

Kashambo said ICAO shares the region’s desire to build resilient state aviation oversight systems that will ensure protection of the lives of the traveling public.

He noted that the target of improved safety can only be achieved if the region fulfills certain prerequisites such as the availability of financial aid and human resources as well as harmonized regulatory frameworks.



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