Dar es Salaam. Stakeholders in the aviation sector in East Africa are pushing for paperless clearances at the region’s airports.

Airports will not only have to introduce on-line payment systems but fully implement paperless immigration processes.

“This will ensure continuous improvement of clearances at all the airports,” the just ended consultative meeting on air transport in the region has resolved.

The 47th meeting held at Naivasha in Kenya was organized by the East African Community (EAC) secretariat and discussed ways of improving air transport in the six nation bloc.

Top on the agenda was how to enable the EAC to comply with Annex 9 (Air Transport Facilitation) and Annex 17 (Aviation Safety) of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. It resolved that safety and security at the airports should be enhanced through, among other things, digitalizing the multiple clearance processes, including cargo and Immigration.

The aviation authorities in all the six EAC partner states were urged to share information on people involved in pilferage in the airports and to share such information. The meeting also emphasized the need to screen imported goods at the cargo terminals for security purposes.

“That has to include putting in place quarantine areas for contaminated animals,” the EAC secretariat said in a dispatch to The Citizen.

There should also be uniformity for application of disembarking cards at the arrival Immigration desks at the airports.

Kenya principal secretary in the Transport and Public Works docket Ms Esther called on the EAC airports to enhance capacity of the existing infrastructure to cope with the future aviation demands. She said air transport has an important role to play in the promotion of trade, tourism and economic growth.