Algeria has announced the opening of air cargo to domestic private operators. This measure is part of the new national economic plan.
According to Abdelghani Zaâlane, Minister of Transport and Public Works, who spoke before the Finance Committee at the National People's Assembly, this measure is justified by the operational limitations of the national airline Air Algerie, which can no longer keep up with the needs of its customers.
"The National Air Transport Company, Air Algerie, cannot meet the demand from businesses wanting to export their products, hence the need to lift the restrictions on air and sea freight", explained Minister Abdelghani Zaalane.
In recent years, Algeria has experienced a significant increase in non-hydrocarbon exports, especially to certain African countries. According to Customs data, Algerian non-oil exports increased by 3.4% in the first 10 months of 2017 compared to the whole of 2016.
Non-hydrocarbon exports now represent $ 1.49 billion of the country's total exports, while the freight handling capacity of the national airline Air Algerie is of limited significance. Its subsidiary, Air Algerie Cargo, which deals with the freight component, has only two aircraft, one Lockheed Hercules and one B737-700 QC.
With the new measure, private operators will be able to acquire or charter aircraft for their export operations. This measure also concerns sea freight.
These non-hydrocarbon exports consist mainly of food, industrial capital goods, raw materials, non-food consumer goods and other miscellaneous goods.
It is worth noting that the legislative framework relating to the opening of air cargo in Algeria is governed by Law 98-06 which has not been updated since 1998.