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African airlines suffer revenue loss of Sh860bn due to impact of coronavirus, AFRAA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3The airline industry in Africa will suffer a revenue loss of US$8.103 billion – Sh860 billion – in 2020, on account of the impact the coronavirus, according to a new report.

In the impact assessment analysis, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) finds a 90.3 percent year on year passenger traffic reduction for the month of May.

According to the report, recovery is expected to start from the third quarter of the year with domestic operations, followed by regional and intercontinental flights.

AFRAA also finds that there is currently a shortage of cargo capacity in Africa due to the need for the carriage of medical equipment and essential goods.

The evolution of the number of COVID-19 cases indicates that the most impacted countries in Africa are South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Ghana, each with a total of more than 5,000 cases of infection. While the rate of infections in other continents is beginning to ease off, in Africa the rate of infections are still on the rise. However, the recovery rate in Africa is higher, with an average death rate of 9 percent compared to the global rate of 19 percent.

Setting ground for the survival and recovery of the air transport industry

AFRAA Secretary-General, Abdérahmane Berthé said the availability of liquidity is the main issue to be addressed for airlines to survive and restart their operations.

Without it, the Secretary-General said airlines can simply not survive the pandemic long enough to restart their operations. “AFRAA urges African governments to consider a bailout and stimulus package that compensates for the significant losses, reduces the burden of ongoing operating costs, and subsidizes the industry’s survival and recovery.” 

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“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,” Berthé added. 

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He also called for the need to ensure passenger confidence to resume air travel.

“Communication with passengers on the health and safety measures in place is crucial to reassure them of a safe and sterile travel experience with appropriate measures in place,” Berthé added.

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