Fatima Beyina-Moussa, CEO of ECAir, Equatorial Congo Airlines, the national airline of the Republic of Congo, chaired the proceedings of the 47th General Assembly of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).
The event, under the high patronage of Denis Sassou N’Guesso, President of the Republic of Congo, was held from 8-10 November 2015 at the Complexe sportif de la Concorde in Kintélé under the title “Open Skies: Growth through Competition and Collaboration”.
In total, 35 airlines attended. More than 300 participants discussed strategies to promote the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision, which enshrines free access for air carriers to intra-African connections. Even though it was adopted by 44 countries in November 1999, to date only 11 African countries have committed to implementing it effectively.
At the beginning of the discussion, the leaders of the AFRAA member airlines received valuable support from the Congolese President, Denis Sassou N’Guesso: “One of the great merits of your association is the awareness that unity is strength and that in your industry salvation lies in the need for solidarity, in sharing essential resources and in vital synergy. Your association pursues ambitions and goals that are in perfect harmony with the African Union”, declared the head of the Congolese state.
The active participation of Denis Sassou N’Guesso at the 47th General Assembly of AFRAA is highly symbolic. The Republic of Congo is committed to making air transport one of the major pillars of its economic diversification strategy. In recent years, the Republic of Congo has in fact provided advanced infrastructure in this area. Significant investment has been made to build or upgrade nine airports. Three of these, including Maya-Maya Airport, which boasts ultramodern architecture, are world-class. In particular, the country has launched an airline, ECAir, which, in the space of just four years, has become the benchmark for passenger air transport in Central Africa.
For her part, Fatima Beyina-Moussa, who headed AFRAA this year, said: “At ECAir, we opted to negotiate with our peers and were able to conclude inter-airline agreements with TAC, Asky, Ethiopian, South African Airways, Air Algérie and agreed to operate the Brazzaville- Beirut route in collaboration with Trans Air Congo. I am also pleased to announce that Kenya Airways and ECAir have decided to collaborate closely in the near future. I would like to thank my colleague, Mr Mbuvi Ngunze, CEO of Kenya Airways.”
Edmund Makona, CEO of Air Zimbabwe, succeeds Fatima Beyina-Moussa as head of AFRAA. Air Zimbabwe will host the 48th General Assembly of AFRAA from 20-22 November, 2016, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.