Kenya’s air travel industry to decline by 75 pct in 2020 amid COVID-19

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NAIROBI, KENYA - 2020/07/31: A health official wearing a mask examines the COVID-19 certificate of a passenger who had arrived into the country from Kigali, Rwanda. Kenya Airways has resumed international flights following the easing of travel restrictions by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The flights had been stopped during the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak in the country. (Photo by Dennis Sigwe/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA – 2020/07/31: A health official wearing a mask examines the COVID-19 certificate of a passenger who had arrived into the country from Kigali, Rwanda. (Photo by Dennis Sigwe/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Kenya’s air travel industry is expected to decline by 75 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry association said on Wednesday.

Agnes Mucuha, CEO, Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) told journalists in Nairobi that between January and October, the air travel sector earned 13 billion shillings (about 117 million U.S. dollars) compared to 467 million dollars recorded in a similar period last year.

“The air travel industry is performing at 25 percent of 2019 levels due to the suspension of international air travel between April and July as well as the persistence of travel restrictions in many key destinations,” Mucuha said during the aviation industry stakeholder’s forum which discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation sector and allied businesses.

Mucuha said that the re-emergence of the new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic late in the year has led to quarantines for international travelers in certain destinations and this has affected demand for air travel.

She noted that since the reopening of international flights in August, the air travel industry has been increasing by four percent in each subsequent month.

Mucuha revealed that the local travel industry has recovered much faster than international travel because there are no quarantine measures for domestic travelers.

According to KATA, the prospects for 2021 will be based on the successful rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine because it will improve the confidence of air travel and stimulate free flow of international passenger traffic.

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