Sydney – African airport tender processes tend to lack transparency – and it's a key challenge for the continent's aviation industry.
This is according to Hemant Mistry, director of airports at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), who spoke to Fin24 on Sunday.
"The consultation process relating to airport processes in Africa also tends to have a lack of transparency," he said at the 74th IATA annual general meeting in Sydney.
"This leads to the industry only finding out about airport transactions when it is too late to turn it around."
IATA has, in partnership with Deloitte, released a guide on suggested best practice for airport ownership and regulation.
"Airports should not be seen as quick ways to raise cash. Airports should not simply be used as a means to raise cash for governments. The focus should rather be on the wider economic benefit," said Mistry.
"There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The decision to privatise or not privatise an airport should always focus on the benefit to its consumers as well as the wider economy."
He said there was a broad range of airport ownership and operating models that could often meet a government’s objectives without the sale of assets.
At the same time, if a government’s priority is to improve an airport’s performance and management capability, then service and management contracts should, in IATA’s view, be used to incorporate private sector expertise and efficiency.
According to Brian Pearce, IATA’s chief economist, governments should see airports as a bridge through which a city connects to other markets.
This enables the success of an economy, he said.
* Fin24 is a guest of IATA at its AGM.
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