Juba International airport is the most expensive transit hub in East Africa region
JUBA, South Sudan - A new report by the East African Business Council (EABC), TradeMark Africa (TMA) and the government of the Netherlands has ranked South Sudan’s Juba International Airport as the most expensive transit hub within the East African region .
“The airport tax charged of $122 at Juba International Airport on passengers is above the EAC regional average of $67,” the report says.
The report dubbed ‘Air Transport Services Liberalisation in the East African Community, Focus on Drivers and Regulations ‘ also places the airport as the fourth most expensive in Africa in terms of passenger charges.
Mr John Kalisa, CEO-EABC says that the high costs to the lack of well-developed infrastructure and qualified personnel to control the airspace.
“The major factors constraining the growth of air transport in EAC especially in South Sudan, is poor infrastructure and insecurity. The airport lacks cold rooms for storage of cargo making, among other facilities .We also have the issue of non-uniformity in passenger handling charges in the EAC making some of the airports, including Uganda and Burundi, slightly expensive.”
Juba (South Sudan), Melchior Ndadaye International Airport (Burundi) and Entebbe (Uganda) airports both have high airport tax on passengers, making them expensive destinations.
Uganda imposes a charge of $0.6 per boarding pass and the $10 on transfers, which are not imposed by other EAC member countries, other than Burundi which imposes $40 on transfers.
EABC recommends that Uganda eliminates the passenger handling charge of $0.6 per boarding pass and the $10 on transfers while Burundi removes the $40 on transfer.
“On average passenger departure charges account for 13 percent of the ticket price for flights in the EAC and eight percent for flights to other African countries outside the EAC,” report findings states.
The findings also reveal cargo volumes have largely stagnated in the EAC region due to the high cost of air cargo, lengthy bureaucracy in obtaining clearance, airline scheduling delays, inadequate infrastructure like cold rooms and route restrictions that make it difficult to access new markets.
Burundi is the only member state of EAC that lacks a cargo aircraft facility as per the report findings,hence it making access to markets expensive and limited.
The EAC region also continue to experience high fee charged for passenger departure and transfer , compare to charges at airports in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), Europe and the Middle East.
On average passenger departure charges account for 13 percent of the ticket price within EAC and eight percent for flights to other African countries outside the EAC.
However, the report showed that passenger departure and transfer fees in the EAC region are lower than those in the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and Central African Economic and Monetary Community blocs.
In terms of air transport regulatory environment , most member states within the EAC are influenced by the existing Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements (BASAs) for respective countries and domestic air services regulations at the national level.
Most BASAs in the EAC provide substantial liberalisation according to the Yamoussoukro Decision.
However, they continue to limit fifth freedom flights and operations of foreign airlines in the domestic market of a contracting party.
According to the report, liberalisation of air transport within EAC would result in an additional 46,320 jobs and $202.1 million per annum in GDP., achieved through an increase in trade, tourism, inbound investment, production and employment.
“Liberalisation of air transport services will contribute to our greatest desire of growing intra-EAC trade,” said Charles Omusana, from the EAC Secretariat.