African airlines suffer $4b losses in wake of COVID-19 – IATA

APA-Nairobi (Kenya)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday called for urgent action from African governments to provide financial relief to airlines amid indications that most of them have suffered huge losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to IATA, airlines from the continent have incurred losses of up to US$4 billion as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has halted air traffic during the past few weeks.

For instance, Kenya has received 2.5 million fewer passengers, resulting in a US$540 million revenue loss, risking 137,965 jobs and a US$1.1 billion in contribution to Kenya’s economy, according to IATA.

South African airlines recorded 10.7 million fewer passengers, resulting in a US$2.29-billion revenue loss while the pandemic resulted in 3.5 million less passengers for Nigerian airlines which incurred losses of around US$760 million, according to IATA.

Ethiopian airlines recorded 1.6 million fewer passengers as a result of the coronavirus scare. Incurring a revenue loss of US$300 million.

“To minimize the broad damage that these losses would have across the African and Middle East economies, it is vital that governments step up their efforts to aid the industry,” said Muhammad Al Bakri, IATA regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East.

He noted that many governments in the region that he is responsible for have committed to provide relief from the effect of COVID-19.

A number of African governments have begun providing some tax relief such as deferral of aircraft lease payments by the government of Cabo Verde and financial relief from governments of Rwanda and Angola, al Bakri revealed.

The association also called on African air transport regulators to provide measures to ensure air cargo operations, including fast track procedures to obtain overflight and landing permits and exempting flight crew members from 14-day quarantine.

It also called for governments to provide financial relief on airport and air traffic control charges and taxes for airlines.


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