Air Cote d’Ivoire has resumed domestic flights following a government bailout, three months after COVID-19 suspension of operations.
The national carrier said last week it had received 14 billion CFA francs ($24.09 million) from the government to keep it afloat as the pandemic shut down flights.
The resumption of flights is the first step in the airline’s plot to resume full operations post-COVID-19.
The Cote d’Ivoire government announced last week international flights will be allowed to resume starting July 1.
In an interview with Reuters, CEO Rene Decurey said the carrier plans to receive a new Airbus A320neo in October, which will be the 11th plane in its fleet.
“We think that if we can start (regional flights) in the month of July, we will, if everything goes well, recover 80% of our passengers by the end of the year,” Decurey said.
African airlines have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they stand to lose billions of dollars in 2020.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the region’s airlines could lose $6 billion of passenger revenue compared to 2019.
The body also warns that the region’s job losses in aviation and related industries could grow to 3.1 million.
It urged governments to seek other creative ways of dealing with the pandemic without shutting down their economies.
Cote d’Ivoire has reported 9,214 COVID-19 infections and 66 deaths, according to data from the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.