COVID-19: N160bn and 22,200 jobs to be lost in the Aviation industry

The disruption to air travel due to the continued spread of coronavirus will cost Nigeria’s aviation industry over N160.58bn (using Bureau de Change rate of N370 to $1) ($434m) in revenue and 22,200 jobs, the International Air Transport Association has said.

IATA said on Thursday that the country would also lose approximately 2.2 million passengers.

The association, an umbrella body for 290 airlines globally, had in early March projected 853,000 losses in passenger volumes and $170m loss in base revenues in Nigeria if the spread of COVID-19 continued.

In its country specific loss analysis, the IATA said since the end of January, thousands of passenger flights had been cancelled in Africa.

It added that the cancellations would increase exponentially with the implementation of additional measures in different countries.

IATA said, “International bookings in Africa are down roughly 20 per cent in March and April, domestic bookings have fallen by about 15 per cent in March and 25 per cent in April, according to the latest data.

“African airlines had lost $4.4bn in revenue as of  March 11, 2020. Ticket refunds have increased by 75 per cent in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 (01 February – 11 March).”

The association said South Africa would also lose six million passengers, $1.2bn in base revenues and risk over 102,000 jobs.

According to IATA, other African countries expected to record huge losses are Kenya ($320m), Ethiopia ($202m) and Rwanda ($52m).

IATA said the expected job losses for Kenya would be 36,800; Ethiopia, 98, 400; and Rwanda, 3,000 while loss in passenger volume would be 1.6 million, 1.2 million and 201,000 for the three countries respectively.

Director General and Chief Executive Officer, IATA, Alexander de Junaic, appealed for governments’ support for the industry.

He said, “Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is the top priority of governments. But they must be aware that the public health emergency has now become a catastrophe for economies and for aviation.

“The scale of the current industry crisis is much worse and far more widespread than 9/11, SARS or the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

“Airlines are fighting for survival. Many routes have been suspended in Africa and Middle East and airlines have seen demand fall by as much as 60 per cent on remaining ones.”

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