AFRICA – Africa’s aviation industry and related industry is in danger of crumbling as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage economies, curtailing international travel which airlines heavily rely on for revenues.

Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicates that the impact of COVID-19 on Africa’s aviation industry and economies has worsened since its last review.

According to IATA, Job losses in aviation and related industries could increase by up to 3.5 million.

This represents more than half of the region’s 6.2 million aviation-related employment and 400,000 more than the previous estimate.

IATA further downgraded full-year 2020 traffic projections from a fall of 51% in the previous assessment to 54% (more than 80 million passenger journeys) compared to 2019.

GDP supported by aviation in the region could fall by up to US$35 billion, a further decline when compared to a previous IATA estimate of US$28 billion decline.

“COVID-19 has devastated African economies and brought air connectivity across the continent to a virtual standstill. And the situation is getting worse,” Muhammad Al Bakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East said.

He further noted that millions of jobs and livelihoods are at risk in family-run enterprises and large corporations along the entire travel and tourism value chain.

“For Africa’s economic recovery and future prosperity, it is essential to expedite the safe restart of the industry,” Muhammad Al Bakri, advised.

This can be achieved through government action in two priority areas: Harmonizing the restart of air transport in Africa and Stepping up efforts to support the industry.

To avoid conflicting measures, disruptions and inefficiencies, all countries, including those in Africa, must apply IATA’s recommendations consistently and uniformly, IATA advised.

IATA further noted that continued financial and regulatory support, particularly financial relief–that does not increase industry debt levels are essential to support airlines over the restart and recovery period.

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