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African airlines to lose $8.5bn in 2021- Report

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THE  African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has forecast a full-year loss in revenue of $8.5bn for airlines all over the continent.

It said in a statement on Tuesday that African airlines cumulatively lost $10.21bn in revenues due to the impact of the pandemic, representing 58.8 per cent of 2019 revenues.

The report titled, ‘African airlines’ performance updates by AFRAA – November 2021’ stated that Africa’s poor performance could affect the survival of the aviation industry across the continent.

It read, “Across the African continent in general, passenger traffic volumes continued to be low due to the inconsistencies in the messaging regarding border closures, health protocols and continued surge in COVID-19 infections in some countries, and recently the concern about omicron identified as a potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant.

“The result is significant low airlines revenues. Full year revenue loss for 2021 is forecast at US$8.5b, that is, 49% of the 2019 revenues. In 2020, African airlines cumulatively lost $10.21b in revenues due to the impact of the pandemic, representing 58.8% of 2019 revenues. This poor performance is a direct threat to the survival of the African aviation industry.”

While the report tried to ascertain whether the Omicron variant was transmissible, it said the number of cases had reached 257 million globally and 8.6 million in Africa. This variant, it explained, was responsible  for the drop in passenger demand for travel.

“From January to November 2021, air passenger traffic reached 41.6% compared to the same period in 2019. Similarly, capacity reached 58%. The low evolution of ASK is explained by the ongoing travel restrictions and the low willingness of travellers.

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“Domestic market maintained the biggest share for capacity but reduced traffic in August 2021, with demand for passenger outperforming intra-Africa and intercontinental at 39% compared to 29.3% for intra-Africa and 31.6% for intercontinental. Both intra-Africa and intercontinental displayed an increase in traffic. As regards passenger seats offered, domestic, intra-Africa and intercontinental account for 44.7%, 22.4%, and 32.9% respectively,” the report read.

The trade association of airlines observed that African airlines’ restart of operations on international routes continued with the positive trend into November as only four of the top 15 African airlines exceeded the number of their international routes in the pre-COVID period.

It, however, noted that air traffic fell from 81.3 per cent in October to 80.8 per cent in November 2021 due to some airlines that closed few international routes, among which were Air Arabia Maroc and EgyptAir.

Nonetheless, the report acknowledged all regulatory moves to stem the movement of Omicron variant in various countries including the United Kingdom ban on flights from Nigeria over the COVID-19 virus.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in a memo to all airlines operating international flights in and out of Nigeria, threatened them with a $3,500 fine per passenger as well as a ban from coming into Nigeria.

The memo, which was forwarded to our correspondent this afternoon, charged airlines to only board passengers with evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test not less than 48 hours of boarding.

Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Email tips to [email protected]

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