As African carriers brace for a potential revenue loss of US$4 billion, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) has strengthened its call for governments to act with urgency.
In percentage terms, this loss translates into a drop in industry revenues of 32% in 2020 compared to 2019.
South Africa will potentially be the worst affected - 10.7 million fewer passengers resulting in a US$2.29 billion loss, risking 186 850 jobs and a US$3.8 billion contribution to the SA economy.
Nigeria is next in line with 3.5 million fewer passengers resulting in a US$ 0.76 billion loss, risking 91 380 jobs and a US$0.65 billion contribution to the country’s economy.
Ethiopia and Kenya are projected to lose US$0.3 billion and US$ 0.54 billion respectively.
In the Middle East region, where potential losses are estimated at US$19 billion, governments - including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar - have taken direct action to support aviation.
Several are providing some financial and tax relief, including deferral of aircraft lease payments by the government of Cabo Verde, extension of VAT refund payment dates in Saudi Arabia, and positive consideration for financial relief from governments across the region, including Jordan, Rwanda, Angola and the UAE.
There is a raft of initiatives that regulators around the world can take to ease the burden on the industry, and several governments are taking positive action, according to Muhammad Al Bakri, Iata’s regional president for Africa and the Middle East.
Ghana, Morocco, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Africa have agreed to a full-season waiver to the slot use rule, he says. “This will enable airlines and airports greater flexibility for this season but there is more to do on the regulatory front. Governments need to recognise that we are in a crisis,” said Al Bakri.