Gambia, S/Africa sign new air service deal
Monday, May 12, 2008
A new bilateral air service agreement between South Africa and The Gambia was on Thursday, signed at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Kololi.
The deal aims to liberalise air transport and to encourage foreign investment, as well as harness the potential economic benefits of this fast-growing industry for national development.
Bakary Houma, the permanent secretary at the Department of State for Works, Construction and Infrastructure, signed on behalf of The Gambia government, while Thembisile Majola Embalo, the South African ambassador to The Gambia - based in Dakar - signed on behalf her government.
Under the new pact, both countries agreed that there will be no limit on the number of frequencies and capacities offered in passenger and all cargo air services linking any city "pair combination between contracting parties. Each designation airline shall be allowed to operate the capacity and frequency as such airline deems appropriate".
The parties also agreed that tariffs to be charged by a designation airline shall be set according to market forces. "Both parties could also advise each other should tariffs filed by airlines in other countries if deemed too high or too low."
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ambasador Embalo said the new agreement is in pursuance of the Yamouskoro Declaration. She said the main idea behind the agreement is to enable airlines in both countries to fly passengers to South Africa and beyond.
" There is a need to open up our skies, if you look at it within the bigger context of wanting to work towards integration of Africa. We cannot have integration if people and goods cannot move from point to another," she said, adding that this is an integral part of building trade and economic integration in the continent.
"We all know how difficult it is to move from one part of the continent to another. We need to build our air service apart from the ground services, shipping services so that people and goods can be able to move from point to another," she recounted.
For his part, Nuha Touray, the deputy permanent secretary at the Department of State for Works, Construction and Infrastructure, thanked South African for its foresight, noting that the Southern African state has well established fleet of airlines, with a wide range of services.
Fansu Bojang, the director general of the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), expressed gratitude to the South African delegation for their cooperation. According to him, the deal will be beneficial to both countries. "You may recall that the Yamouskoro decision is an extra-continental approach towards integrating Africa," he said.
Present at the ceremony were officials of GCAA, Gambia International Airline and SLOK Air International.
Author: by Sheriff Janko