Travel News


Recently #iata DG Willie Walsh at the Instanbul AGM raised some concerns regarding a number of topics.

Walsh has renewed pressure on aircraft manufacturers to speed up aircraft & parts production, warning that delays would reduce airline capacity as demand for air travel neared a full recovery post-pandemic.

Airports in SA have been singled out for harsh criticism by Iata DG.

While Walsh applauded the fact that airlines were on their way to a profitable, safe, efficient & sustainable future, he said many of those with whom airlines do business were adding to pressures on those same airlines.

He named firstly, as a prime culprit, Schiphol in Amsterdam (“the worst in the world”) which is raising airport charges, and secondly airports in SA, (which are proposing a 38% increase in charges this year), along with ATNS, which, he said, was demanding a 63% hike.

“With such bad behaviour on open display, calls for lighter touch economic regulation of our monopoly suppliers must not be taken seriously by any government. Considering these many challenges, that airlines are turning a profit at the industry level is truly impressive.”

Aviation players in SA have been quick to stress that they are not in agreement with Acsa and ATNS proposed fee hikes.

Aaron Munetsi, CEO of the Aasa spoke to TNW, saying: “Aasa, on behalf of its members, which comprise most of the SADC carriers, is in an ongoing engagement with both Acsa & ATNS and their respective regulators, in a bid to contain any increases.

“As an industry that plays such a significant role in the region’s economic mix, we recognise how crucial it is that air transport remains affordable and accessible. Any major shock increases, such as the ones proposed, will act as a handbrake on domestic, regional and long-haul travel, tourism and trade in an already fragile economy,” said Munetsi.

Rodger Foster, CEO & MD of Airlink, agrees that shock increases will only worsen the cost of air travel. “This comes at a time when airlines and other commercial players in the air transport value chain are doing everything to mitigate rising costs to keep fares affordable, and even more so in SA’s present high-inflation economic environment.”

In Feb, the South African Department of Transport gazetted changes to airport tariffs for 2023, which incl. fee hikes for parking, landing, and passenger services.

Acsa refuted Iata’s claim, saying that the airport operator did not intend to raise charges by 38%.

It released a statement saying: “We have applied for a tariff increase in line with the regulatory framework which results in 17,5% in the first year, 17,5% in the second year & 0% for the rest of the FY2023/24 to FY2027/28 permission (period).

Ceo TAG (Travel Assignment Group) Jonathan Gerber added his comment,
“Always two sides to a story, which is the actual truth?  Costs get passed onto consumer.”

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