African Airlines could lose $6 billion of passenger revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA’s projections come as the global aviation industry has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought air travel to a near standstill.
The disruption in global air travel has had a negative impact on Africa’s airlines, some forced to scale down their work force while other have had to delay salaries due to cash flow troubles.
IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Muhammad Al Bakri, has urged governments to come to the aid of the struggling airlines to ensure their survival beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The economic damage of a crippled industry extends far beyond the sector itself. Aviation in Africa supports 6.2 million jobs and $56 billion in GDP. Sector failure is not an option, more governments need to step up,” said Al Bakri.
“Re-starting aviation and opening borders will be critical to the eventual economic recovery. Airlines are eager to get back to business when and in a way that it is safe. But starting up will be complicated. We need to make sure that the system is ready, have a clear vision of what is needed for a safe travel experience, establish passenger confidence and find ways to restore demand. Cooperation and harmonization across borders will be essential to restart aviation,” he added.
IATA says full-year 2020 traffic is expected to plummet by 51% compared to 2019. Previous estimate was a fall of 32%.
The body listed ten airlines that it predicts will be hardest hit by the current aviation struggles, including Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways and Kenya Airways.