Africa airlines must stop brain drain-industry body

ADDIS ABABA, May 10 (Reuters) - African aviation officials should use their political and diplomatic weight to stop Asian and Gulf carriers luring away their pilots, the head of the continent's airlines association said on Thursday.

"Airlines from Gulf states and Asia are poaching pilots, engineers and cabin crew who have been trained by African airlines," Christian Folly-Kossi, secretary of the African Airlines Association told a two-day aviation conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

"African officials responsible for aviation must use their political and diplomatic power to stop the poaching which threatens African airlines."

He also urged African airlines to agree a common position to face competition from airlines based in the developed world.

Folly-Kossi also appealed for security to be boosted after last week's Kenya Airways crash that killed 114 people.

That accident, the second in seven years for one of Africa's most successful airlines, was another blow to Africa's already poor record as the most dangerous continent to fly on.

It has the world's highest rate of air accidents, while accounting for just 4.5 percent of global air traffic.