The regulatory framework in Africa in which international airline groups operate is far from uniform. Although several African states have embraced the principles of liberalization with regard to the African market and intra-African air transport, intercontinental routes are still often subject to strict protectionist policies. In order to protect their national carriers, many African governments continue to opt for restrictive regulations in terms of market access, seat capacity and frequency of services. Thus, air transport between Europe/the US and Africa is still based on the complex system of strict bilateral agreements negotiated separately by pairs of countries. Because such policies, by their nature, impose limitations on the volume of tourist traffic, they often have a detrimental influence on the development of tourism and thus also on regional growth in Africa. Only recently have some more liberal African governments started negotiating open skies bilateral agreements with selected European countries and the US. However, it should not be assumed that, if the liberalization and deregulation of air transportation in Africa progresses, the increased tourist traffic will automatically foster economic development in African tourist destinations. P. 26That paragraph is from a paper by Piotr Niewiadomski.
The role of national authorities can also be critical in owning, or co-owning, national airlines and related infrastructure such as airports. If this is the case, their tendency to protect national airlines and thus to opt for protective bilateral agreements can be very strong. By 1991, almost all African carriers had been owned by the state (Schlumberger 2010). Currently, as many as 25 African states have fully or partially state-owned carriers. While 20 of them are relatively weak competitors in the market, the national airlines of Egypt (Egyptair), Morocco (Royal Air Maroc), Kenya (Kenya Airways), Ethiopia (Ethiopian Airlines) and South Africa (South African Airways) are the strongest carriers in Africa (Schlumberger 2010). Out of the three focal states, only Uganda does not currently have a state-owned airline.
Regarding airports and air navigation services, the situation in Africa is even more complex. In contrast with South Africa, where airports and air navigation services were privatized in the early 1990s (Goldstein 2001; Prins and Lombard 1995), air navigation services and airports in Kenya and Uganda are still in the hands of the government. Thus, in Uganda all airports are owned by the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda – a state agency of the Ministry of Works and Transport. In Kenya, airports are owned and managed by the Kenyan Airport Authority, while navigation services are provided by the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority – both having the status of state corporations overseen by the Ministry of Transport. Meanwhile, in South Africa, airports are owned by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), whereas air navigation services are provided by the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company, both established by the state and privatized in the 1990s (see Goldstein 2001; Prins and Lombard 1995). P. 20.