PRESS RELEASE Harare, Zimbabwe December 17, 2002 AFRICAN AIRLINES ASSOCIATION (AFRAA) HOLDS 34TH ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY The 34th Annual General Assembly of the African Airlines Association kicked off here yesterday (16th Dec) with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe calling on member airlines to help market Africa‟s tourism industry. Approximately 200 delegates attended the two-day meeting held at the Harare International Conference Centre. Around 20 member airlines were represented at Chief Executive level. Others included representatives from international and regional airline organisations, civil aviation authorities, as well as manufacturers and suppliers of aviation equipment, hardware and services. In his opening remarks, President Mugabe challenged African airlines to market Africa‟s huge tourism potential. He said Africa had some of the best Game Parks in the world, in places like Kenya, Tanzania, and in Southern Africa, yet that did not translate into profits. “In the year 2000, Africa earned only 2.2 per cent of the total world tourism earnings. Out of the 700 million world tourists who travelled, only 27 million (a mere 4 per cent) came to Africa in 2000,” President Mugabe noted. The President urged African airlines to ensure that they were up-to-date on safety and security measures, noting that the recent terrorist attacks in Mombasa, Kenya, showed that Africa was not immune to acts of terrorism. AFRAA Secretary-General Mr Christian Folly-Kossi said African airlines ought to be run by professional boards of directors and by competent Chief Executive Officers appointed on merit. He lamented that frequent changes in leaderships of airlines was detrimental to the industry. “Frequent changes in the top management of African airlines are killing the industry,” Mr. Folly-Kossi, adding that African Airlines should no longer expect foreign carriers from Europe or elsewhere to bail them out in times of trouble. He noted that these foreign airlines were also undergoing severe difficulties of their own. Mr. Folly-Kossi at the same time urged African governments to commercialise or privatise their airlines in order to avoid „invasion‟ by mega-carriers who pose a challenge to African airlines. 2 “Liberalisation and globalisation are taking the industry by storm. In the coming years, the continent is likely to be thoroughly invaded by foreign mega-carriers. Most African carriers would not survive the tempest of such fierce competition, unless we timely address the issue of their small size,” Mr Folly-Kossi said. He also emphasised on need for member airlines to form vibrant regional groupings and alliances in order to withstand the worldwide competition going on in the industry. Other issues discussed at the Assembly, which ends today 17th December, 2002, included Information Technology developments in air transport, trends and future prospects and the way forward for African Airlines. At the conclusion, the Assembly elected Capt. Fathi Shatti, Chief Executive Officer of Libyan Arab Airlines as the AFRAA President for the year 2003. Mr. Jonathan Jiya, Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Airways was elected 1st Vice -President and Mr. Brian Pressbury, Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways was elected as 2nd Vice-President.