Africa’s aviation to suffer $8b in revenue loss

Sunday June 07 2020

An empty airport as a result of international travel restrictions. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Africa’s aviation industry will suffer an estimated revenue loss of $8.103 billion this year as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, according to a latest report by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).

The impact assessment analysis shows passenger revenue dropped to $0.403 billion in Q1 2020 which represents 13.8 per cent Year-over-Year with more impact seen in Q2 of this year, costing $2.740 billion.

The analysis which is the first in a series of studies that will be published by the association examining the toll of the pandemic on Africa’s air transport sector indicated that recovery is expected to start from the third quarter of 2020 with domestic operations, followed by regional and intercontinental flights.

The report, released this week, shows the industry recorded a 90.3 per cent year on year passenger traffic reduction for the month of May.

Since March 2020, AFRAA analysis reported there has been a shortage of cargo plane capacity due to demand derived from the Covid-19 crisis including medical supplies and essential goods with a number of airlines suspending their operations.



The report indicates a significant reduction in belly cargo capacity due to suspension of passenger flights owing to border closures by states during the Covid-19 pandemic period with capacity dropping by 16.169 billion available seat miles in May, a 78.40 per cent of reduction year on year.

During the launch of the report, AFRAA Secretary General, Abdérahmane Berthé noted lack of adequate funds to reboot the industry.

“The availability of liquidity is the main issue to be addressed for airlines to survive and restart their operations. Without it, airlines can simply not survive this pandemic long enough to restart their operations,” said Mr Berthe.

Mr Berthé urged African governments to consider a bailout and stimulus package that compensates for the significant losses, reduces the burden of ongoing operating costs, and subsidises the industry’s survival and recovery.

“We also call upon international financial institutions and development partners to support Airlines with facilities that can help ensure the availability of much-needed credit and liquidity,” Mr. Berthé added.  He said there was need to ensure passenger confidence to resume air travel which can be achieved through communicating with passengers on the health and safety measures which have been put in place.