The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is taking a toll on the aviation industry and global economy at large. The pandemic has restricted national and international supply chains. Economic activity in various regions has been disrupted by quarantine measures and reduced domestic demand for goods and services.
To date, COVID-19 has claimed around 6,674 lives across the globe. So far, 159 countries have reported infections and in Africa, the cases reported as of 19 March were 640 in 34 countries.
The passenger business of the global air transport industry is estimated by IATA to make revenue losses between $63 billion and $113 billion in 2020 while no estimates are currently available for the impact on airline cargo operations. The forecast for global real GDP growth could dip below 2.5% this year according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. In the likelihood that the virus remains uncontained, the economic impact will be much deeper and more persistent.
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) urges African governments to consider the compensation of inevitable losses, the alleviation of exogenous operating costs, and the subsidization of the African airlines in a bid to assure the industry’s viability.
“Demand for air travel has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has resulted in airlines making losses due to substantial schedule changes, travel restrictions and cancellations. AFRAA strongly recommends that African airlines engage their stakeholders to develop an all-inclusive proactive response strategy that addresses the adverse impact of the COVID-19 on their business to ensure airlines recover effectively to support key economic sectors” stated Mr. Abderahmane Berthé, AFRAA Secretary-General
He added that AFRAA remains at the forefront with its members and the airline industry at large, in collaborative efforts to deal with and contain the pandemic calling upon all stakeholders to take the necessary measures and precautions to keep safe.
The African airlines association continues to follow the developments closely and is issuing weekly bulletins to its member airlines which consists of 45 airlines cutting across the entire continent and other stakeholders to assist in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19, as well as to share guidelines and best practices.