SA aviation: A tale of 2 airline industries, says CEO

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It is concerning that there are basically two sets of airline performances in Africa – one group, mainly privately owned, are doing fairly well, while others are battling to achieve sustainability and profits.

This is how Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) summarises the industry.

AASA continues to try and find ways to open doors for airlines in Southern Africa. It also looks at ways to address challenges.

"We cannot directly get involved in issues related to the grounding of airlines, but it is very important for us to try and see if we can work with the authorities to try and improve relationships," he told Fin24 on the sidelines of the 75th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) taking place in Seoul, South Korea.

One area AASA is currently focusing on is the new carbon tax applicable in SA from June 1, 2019.

"We work with the airlines to make sure they correctly calculate the correct carbon tax applicable," said Zweigenthal.

He foresees that most airlines will try to absorb the added cost due to the carbon tax and try not to pass it on to consumers in the form of higher fares.

Sustainability is important for AASA and the organisation is involved in ensuring that money allocated to improved infrastructure projects actually do get spent.

AASA also work with service providers to ensure charges raised are reasonable and affordable.

Furthermore, AASA always "keeps its eye on the ball" regarding safety and security issues in the aviation industry, said Zweigenthal.

* Fin24 is a guest of Iata at its AGM.

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