ECOWAS calls for viable regional airline industry to break into global market

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. James Victor Gbeho has called on authorities and other stakeholders in the region to create the enabling environment for a viable airline industry towards the realization of the integration of the region.

According to Mr Gbeho, after a deep reflection, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government found air transportation in the region unsatisfactory and therefore called for synergy and cooperation of all stakeholders to redress the situation.

“One of the core objectives of forming ECOWAS is to integrate our people through free movement of persons, goods and service; promote economic development of our states and ensure interconnectivity of our cities, but this cannot be achieved without a viable transport system,” an ECOWAS statement quoted Mr Gbeho as saying at a ceremony to mark the inaugural flight of the Lome-based ASKY into Abuja, Nigeria on November 17, 2011.

A viable airline industry in the region, Mr Gbeho said, is in consonance with the transformation of the regional Organization from an ECOWAS of State to an ECOWAS of people through its 2020 vision.

“No single airline can service the whole of West Africa, we are small and marginalized. Therefore, we have to join hands to break into the global market,” he stated.

He said the airlines themselves must eschew internecine competition and unhealthy attitude to business which subordinates the interest of travellers to profit motive.

“The time has come for us to come together to deliver. The airlines can do so through code sharing and other forms of cooperation that will alleviate the plight of travellers in our region,” the ECOWAS chief affirmed, adding: “If bigger airlines are coming together to maximize benefits, why can’t we do so in our region that is already marginalized?” he asked.

Speaking earlier at the ceremony held at the Airlines Services and Logistics lounge of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the statement said the Chairman, board of Directors of ASKY, Mr. Gervais Koffi Djondo stated that the airline decided to make Abuja one its destinations because of the City’s importance not only as the capital of Nigeria but also the Headquarters of 15-nation regional grouping ECOWAS.

By Ekow Quandzie

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.