IATA A roadmap to save Africa’s aviation sector
In order to limit the billions of dollars in losses to the industry, IATA has published a roadmap based on six key pillars to prepare recovery plans.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the region’s airlines could lose $6 billion in passenger revenues compared to 2019. That’s $2 billion more than forecast at the beginning of the month. Job losses in aviation and related industries could reach 3.1 million. That is half of the 6.2 million aviation-related jobs in the region. The previous estimate was 2 million. Traffic in the year 2020 is expected to fall by 51% compared to 2019. The previous estimate was a drop of 32%.
Aviation-supported GDP in the region could fall by $28 billion to $56 billion. The previous estimate was $17.8 billion.
These estimates are based on a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting three months, with a gradual lifting of restrictions on domestic markets, followed by regional and intercontinental restrictions.
“Airlines in Africa are struggling for survival”
A grim record for IATA which, after renewing its call for government relief measures as the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in Africa progressed, the association, which brings together a network of 67 members from 52 African countries managing 261 airports, published a roadmap focusing on six key pillars to prepare recovery plans.
“Airlines in Africa are struggling for survival. Air Mauritius has entered voluntary administration, South African Airways and SA Express are in commercial salvage, other struggling carriers have put staff on unpaid leave or have signalled their intention to cut jobs. More airlines will follow if urgent financial relief is not granted. The economic damage of a crippled industry extends far beyond the sector itself. Aviation in Africa supports 6.2 million jobs and $56 billion in GDP. Industry failure is not an option, more governments need to step up their efforts,” said Muhammad Al Bakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East.
In addition to vital financial relief, the industry will also need careful planning and coordination to ensure that airlines are ready when the pandemic is brought under control, the organization says.
Direct financial support and loans
IATA calls for a mix of: direct financial support loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market and tax relief. IATA has also appealed to development banks and other sources of financing to support Africa’s air transport sectors that are on the brink of collapse.
In the meantime, some African governments have already taken direct action to support aviation. These include Senegal, which has announced $128 million in aid for the tourism and air transport sector; Seychelles has cancelled all landing and parking fees from April to December 2020; Côte d’Ivoire has waived its sojourn tax for transit passengers; South Africa is deferring wages, revenues and carbon taxes in all industries, which will also benefit airlines domiciled in that country.
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