IATA urges joined-up policy thinking in South Africa

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South Africa's attempts to boost prosperity through tourism and trade risk being derailed without some joined-up policy thinking by the nation's authorities, according to IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani.

Speaking in Johannesburg as part of the World Economic Forum Africa meeting, Bisignani praised South Africa for its strategic focus on tourism as a driver of economic growth and simplification of import/export procedures through implementation of IATA e-freight procedures.

However, he urged a review of the regulations governing the nation's air transport infrastructure, which he said allowed Airports Company South Africa to raise its charges by 129% over the 2010-15 period and Air Traffic and Navigation Services to raise its charges by 71% over the same period.

"South Africa has developed good infrastructure, but it is part of a value chain that needs to be cost-efficient to be effective," he said. "Allowing increases of 129% and 71% completely misses the mark.

"This is no way to build a more successful tourism industry. We need some joined-up policy thinking."

Bisignani also attacked the proposed inclusion of aviation in South Africa's carbon tax scheme: "South Africa is absolutely correct in strongly opposing Europe's plans to include aviation in its emissions trading scheme from next year. So it is difficult to understand why South Africa is now considering inclusion of aviation in its own unilateral carbon tax scheme."