The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to urgently address the infrastructure challenges airlines face to secure the industry’s future. Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said there are worrying infrastructure gaps, which are increasing operational costs and, thus affecting the profitability of the sector.

The official also advised governments against privatisation of airport infrastructure, saying such a move would “eat into” the sector’s profitability.

“We have not found the correct regulatory framework to balance the interests of investors to get profits with the public interest for the airport to be a catalyst for economic growth,” he said.

In a statement, De Juniac highlighted the need to build infrastructure “robust enough to meet the high standards of airline operations and passenger convenience”.

This comes at a time when government of Rwanda is seeking to establish new regulations governing civil aviation in the country to help make it more efficient.

Minister of State for Transport Eng Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye told Parliament on Monday that the new regulations will improve the way Rwanda investigates aircraft incidents and accidents. Uwihanganye said the proposed regulations will also enable the national carrier, RwandAir, to enter new markets in Europe and America “with ease because the new aviation rules are in line with standards requirements in Europe and the US.

The draft law empowers the Minister for Infrastructure to conduct aircraft accident investigations, among other things, and also outlines how Rwanda will work with other organisations and governments to investigate the accidents and incidents.

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The global aviation body has been encouraging government and airlines to embrace and adhere to standards to enhance efficiency and promote safety across the industry.

“I would therefore like to imagine a future where global standards continue to be strengthened by the cooperation of airlines and government through institutions such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation and IATA,” said de Juniac.

Establishing right funding model

Meanwhile, aviation experts have called for the “right funding model” to avoid burdening the industry with extra costs.

“Ensuring sufficient and cost-efficient infrastructure should remain the industry’s top priority going forward, said Bekele Kaleyesus, a senior aviation and air transport analyst at AIN Limited.

About a week ago, the African Union launched the much-anticipated single African air transport market (SAATM), which is expected to boost air transport business across the continent when it is fully implemented by all African Union member countries.