Aviation industry experts in Africa yesterday lamented the huge revenue, amounting to over $4 billion, which major European airlines that operate in the continent repatriate from the region, while it devised untenable safety conditions to prevent many African airlines from flying into Europe. Speaking on the second day of the 19th Annual African Aviation Conference and Exhibition taking place in Algiers, capital of Algeria, the country's Minister of Transport, Amar Tou, noted that major European carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France and others operate from many countries in the region, generating huge revenue which they repatriate to their home countries and introduced stringent regulations, including emission laws to prevent many African airlines from operating into their European cities. The minister therefore called for cooperation among African airlines so that they could, through united effort, stop the exploitation of the European carriers on the continent, which largely invest nothing in retun. Participants at the conference noted that this unfavourable scenario has been existing over the years because of the attitude of various state governments in Africa which has failed to introduce policies that would encourage the growth of African airlines, especially the Yamoussoukro Decision, which if ratified by various African government would open the region's airspace to seamless inter-city operations in any part of the continent by any airline from the continent. The industry experts therefore criticised the the policy of African governments which favoured international airlines at the expense of their own airlines by frittering away frequencies (flight rights) and designations without reciprocity, noting that these hurt the airlines and led to huge capital flight of over $4 billion dollars from the continent every year, citing example with Nigerian government, which designates foreign carriers to various major airports in the country, thereby stifling the growth of local carriers, which are now finding it extremely difficult to operate due to cash crunch. The Secretary-General of African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Nick Fadugba, noted in an interview with THISDAY that the European Union introduced the Emission Trading Scheme, which penalizes airlines with aircraft which emission exceeds the maximum European standards, as a way to discourage African airlines, describing such regulation as political. Fadugba argued that EU has no right to introduce such tax, rather, it is the world regulatory body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that has the right to enforce such regulation, reiterating that EU used that condition to drive away African airlines. "Now, the EU did this for their own airlines, but they have now included all airlines from outside Europe coming into Europe and this hits hard on North African airlines in particular and many others that have their market in Europe, which means that they are going to be hit by the tax, which has been unilaterally imposed by the EU, not by ICAO. So, the American airlines are up in arms and they have the American Air Transport Association (ATA) which is busy fighting this in court in London. The US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has issued a statement which is very unusual that this policy by Europe is punitive and unilateral and unacceptable," the Secretary-General said. All the major European carriers operate in Nigeria, but no domestic airline fly to any European country, except Arik Air that operates to London. Among dignitaries at the three-day event with the theme, Airlines Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul", are the Director-General, Algerian Civil Aviation and Meteorology, Messaoud Benchemam, Director, Technical and Training, AFRAA, Dr. Elijah Chingosho, President of Air Algeria, Abdelwahid Bouabdallah, representatives of international aviation companies, including airlines, maintenance organization, aircraft spare parts marketers, lessors among others. Source: ThisdayOnline. Nigeria..