Passenger traffic in Africa plummets more than 90%

Published: 3 June 2020 - 5 a.m.

Air passenger traffic among African airlines dropped 90.3% year-on-year in May, costing carriers billions of dollars in revenues.

Data from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) estimates that African airlines will lose more than $8 billion in revenues in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

But the association’s Covid-19 impact report predicts that the sector will begin to recover from Q3, when domestic and regional operations will begin to resume.

There is currently a shortage of cargo capacity in Africa with space taken up by medical equipment and essential goods.

South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Ghana now all have more than 5,000 cases of the Covid-19 infection. While the rate of infections in other continents is beginning to ease off, in Africa the rate of infections is still on the rise.

“The availability of liquidity is the main issue to be addressed for airlines to survive and restart their operations,” said Abdérahmane Berthé, secretary general of AFRAA.

“Without it, airlines can simply not survive this 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.”

Mr Berthé added: “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.

“There is also 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.”

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