Aviation authority to revise navigational service charges

In light of the amended proclamation which gives power to the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) to set air navigation service charges, price revisions are signaled to be underway to a tariff that has remained close to zero for many years.
According to the civil aviation proclamation, air navigation is the operation that ECAA provides to guide an aircraft from one place to another, including the fixing of the position of an aircraft.
Former Director General of ECAA, Wosenyeleh Hunegnaw (Col), who left the position a year ago, reminded that in the past several years the authority had been fighting to revise the service tariff that it provides to local and international aircrafts, which for quite very long time had not been revised.
“There was a strong resistance from stakeholders, and after long struggles, at the end of my term, parliament went on to amend the Civil Aviation Proclamation that would allow the authority to relook the rate with the consent of stakeholders,” Wosenyeleh (Col), who led ECAA for a record 14 years, recalled.
The amended proclamation No. 1179/2020 that revised the proclamation ratified in 2008 indicated that Sub-Article 15 of Article 10 replaced by ‘collect fees and charges for Air Navigation services according to international civil aviation convention and rules; further collect fees and charges for flight safety, inspection, control and follow up any other services from operators and airports enterprise based on approved tariff by the Council of Ministers.
The new proclamation added the term ‘collect fees and charges for Air Navigation services according to international civil aviation convention and rules’, which means that the authority has got a mandate to revise the tariff and make it come to effect.
The former Director General said that the air navigation fee that ECAA charges is very small unlike many other countries “for instance if we see the tariff in Sudan it is very high compared with us, however there are very few countries like Singapore who do not impose such kind of charges.”
“When we asked foreign airlines for the air navigation charge they are amazed,” he remembered, adding, “the current tariff was applied when the exchange rate was eight birr for a USD.”
As per the amended proclamation, ECAA has drafted a new rate. The information Capital obtained from ECAA signals that the draft has been discussed with stakeholders.
Misrak Tilahun, Aviation Regulation Acting Director General at ECAA, told Capital that the adjustment is very urgent to which the authority is in haste to come up with a final output in the near future.
“We are highly interested to see the revision take full effect very soon. It is difficult to set a given period of time when it will be effective,” the Aviation Regulation head added.
According to Misrak, the draft has been tabled about a couple of weeks ago for first round discussion with stakeholders.
“Generally there is a consensus with stakeholders that the rate should be revised, while there are comments from them that we would consider with our upcoming draft document,” she elaborates, adding, “After the revision, we will have additional discussions with stakeholders.”
The information Capital secured from experts is that Ethiopian Airlines is the main user of ECAA’s air navigation service.
Wosenyeleh (Col) said that the authority allocates significant investment to provide air navigation service, “the expense is very high that starts from assigning professionals, to carrying out the operation. There are also technologies like radar that are linked with satellite, a satellite based system called Area 3, and radio communication system to which all costs are covered by the government.”
“At least the operation cost ought to be covered by the charge coming from the service,” he shared his experience and view.
Airspace users like commercial airlines are required to pay for air navigation charges which are used to finance the services provided by the relevant body, in order to ensure the flights’ safety and efficiency.
According to the International Air Transport Association, Air Navigation Service Charges is the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) charge on airlines for the cost of services like air traffic control provided in their airspace and/or airport. It added that overall user charges for ANSP and Airport share was 5-6 percent of overall airline cost.
The charge is determined by its own technical operation and calculation that the service provider gives.

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