There are many examples to explain why air travel across Africa remains by and large very expensive, condemning many Africans to the hazards of road travel where deadly accidents are the order of the day. Regulators across the continent of Africa have time and again undermined their mandate to promote air transport, at times inventing desperate reasons when they have to explain why fares are beyond affordability of most people. Low-cost airlines are often kept out of their skies to keep competition away, a shortsighted measure, of course, as it limits economic growth. To cite but one example are the Kenyan “draculators” – aka as guilty people and institutions sucking the lifeblood out of African pockets, which have constantly ignored and defied the calls of their hard-hit coastal tourism fraternity to grant Qatar Airways traffic rights.
Hitting tourism and aviation with taxes seems the be the order of the day now, and studies by IATA, AFRAA, the UNWTO, and the WTTC about the negative impact of high airport taxes and regulatory fees go ignored.
The African Union has also in their latest budget estimates shown similar greed when they included a US$10 inbound and outbound tax on air tickets, instead of cutting down on wasteful spending and exercising budget austerity.
That all said, the example shown above must probably be the worst example of fares vis-a-vis fees ever, as Fastjet has just launched a prebooked fare of 60,000 Uganda shillings, one way, from Entebbe to Kilimanjaro on which the draculators load a massive 171,600 Uganda shillings of taxes and fees.
The Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), of course notorious since last year’s almost successful attempt to wipe out the aviation fraternity based in Uganda to escape ICAO citation over significant safety concerns of their supervisory and regulatory regime, perhaps managed to dig their hole in which they hibernated and hid since then even deeper.
Courtesy of Fastjet’s open advertising of the fees loaded on the ticket, something the UCAA might have wanted to have kept quiet, were exposed as probably the worst bloodsuckers on the continent as the fees are nearly 3 times the fare.
Perhaps legislators should take a hard look at such practices and limit fees to the level of fares charged, making it impossible for the regulators to set minimum fares just so that they can keep their outrageous charges high.