The 45th East African Community Consultative Meeting aimed at improving Air Transport in the region concluded on Friday 17th May, 2019, at Lake Naivasha Resort in Naivasha, Kenya. The two-day Forum was attended by representatives from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Civil Aviation and Airport Authorities, Airlines, Customs, Immigration and other stakeholders from all the Partner States. Mr. Eric Ntagengerwa, the Principal Civil Aviation Officer, represented the EAC Secretariat.
The 45th EAC Consultative meeting of Air Transport commenced with a visit of the various facilities at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). The participants commended the Republic of Kenya for proper coordination of various stakeholders at both Cargo and passenger terminals and for putting in place clean and well organized facilities at both the cargo shed and within terminal buildings, enhancing air transport facilitation and security.
The EAC Consultative meeting on facilitation of Air Transport is a forum for discussion on issues that affect Air Transport in the region in order to comply with Annex 9 (Air Transport Facilitation) and Annex 17 (Aviation Security) of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. The meeting refers to the ICAO international standards and recommended practices and proposes appropriate recommendations to be implemented by the Partner States at the various EAC international Airports. It is hosted by EAC Partner States, twice a year on rotational basis.
Addressing the delates from the EAC Partner States, the Principal Secretary in the Republic of Kenya’s State Department of Transport, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, Ms. Esther Koimett underscored the importance of EAC Air Transport facilitation forum in ensuring the smooth movement of passengers, goods and aircrafts at all EAC international airports.
The Principal Secretary, who was represented by the Principal Air Transport Officer, Mr. Benjamin Enyenze, urged Partner States to continuously respond to emerging challenges in order to cope with aviation and non-aviation demands as well as strive to meet international standards. She reminded the participants that Air transport plays a key role in the promotion of trade, tourism and economic growth of the region.
“Air Transport facilitation is an important aspect of aviation and the EAC airports have to continuously enhance capacity of existing infrastructure to be able to cope with future aviation demands, meet international requirements and contend with the ever changing threats against Civil Aviation”, noted Ms. Koimett, adding that “the solutions to the challenges we face with regard to infrastructure, safety, security and environmental concerns require a consultative approach in a forum like this”.
The participants also suggested areas of improvements at the Airport including, among others, the need to screen imported goods at the cargo terminal for security reasons, to put in place quarantine area for contaminated animals, and to ensure uniformity of application of disembarkation cards on immigration at arrival.
The meeting further discussed and agreed among other recommendations, to ensure continuous improvement of clearance processes at the EAC international Airports, to introduce online payment systems for all Air operators, to fully implement paperless immigration process, to share information on people involved in pilferage at EAC Airports for monitoring purpose, and to increase their non-aeronautical revenue streams so as to reach a 30:70 ratio by 2020.
The meeting also agreed on important emerging issues in Air Transport that will be discussed in the next EAFAL meetings including, but not limited to Airport facilitation and customer satisfaction, passenger data exchange systems, Airport Collaboration Decision Making (ACDM) and development of regulations to govern/facilitate operations of drones in EAC.