Authority says may be amended in due course
Private Air Operators complained that the new regulation passed by the Council of Ministers in November 2012 easing number of passenger seats limits for private air transports remains unsatisfactory.
The comprehensive policy document is the first of its kind dealing with air transport issues. Previous legislations are auxiliary to the investment code of Ethiopia following the investment law ratified in 199,3 partially allowed their existence as a way to delineate it from other sectors.
The investment law proclamation enacted in early 2012 has rescinded the 1993 investment law thereby allowing the new regulation to be approved.
The complaint was made at a consultative meeting the private operators conducted with the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) at the Authority’s Headquarters on February 22. Such meetings are held bi-annually between the two parties to discuss pertinent issues of the sector. Endeshaw Yigezu, Director of Air Transport and Planning Directorate at ECAA, said although the passenger limit was eased by more than double from the previous 20 seats to 50, no private operator has so far taken advantage of it.
“We will further ease or completely lift the passenger seat limitation taking into consideration air traffic volume and the industry’s growth,” said Endeshaw, adding that the new regulation only pertains to Ethiopian-owned air operators.
The Authority also said that it is drafting a new regulation that would clearly identify who would be eligible to invest in air transport operations in Ethiopia.
Although there are currently no foreign-owned air operators registered under the Ethiopian law to operate here, the current law is unclear as to who is or isn’t permitted to participate in air services investment.
The new regulation doesn’t apply to foreign national air carriers who can operate with unlimited cargo space and passenger seating capacity.
Meanwhile, private operators are displeased with the new regulation, stating that there are currently no airplane manufacturers that produces 50-seat airplanes. A Dutch firm known as Fokker used to manufacture 62-seat airplanes, which can be modified to accommodate fewer seats, but it has ceased operations and the spare parts for the already manufactured aircrafts is in very short supply.
The private air operators are expected to meet again with officials of the ECCA shortly to discuss a newly drafted regulation dealing with passenger seat limitation they expect will give them a leeway they didn’t get in the previously enacted directive.