Over the past few weeks, the aviation sector has not remained the same with the strike of covid-19 outbreak globally, which brought about borders being closed, already booked travel canceled, restriction ban on travels, sudden dismissal of workers and forced indefinite unpaid leave.
Aviation industry has somehow survived and proven resilience towards past crisis but the current covid-19 pandemic, seems to be a hard nut to crack, looking at what is happening all over the world presently.
There is a huge loss at the aviation industry, ranging from canceled flights, and refunds to passengers, low flight bookings, considering the closed border and restriction of movement internationally and locally, the magnitude of this crisis truly is unprecedented and African aviation industry is not in any way exempted.
According to a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) African airlines have recorded a huge loss of over $4.4 Billion In revenue since the outbreak.
African aviation industry is really affected by this pandemic because of its large trade and travel relationship with China.
It is recorded that within the last few decades, there has been a quite number of increase of air transportation between china and Africa at 630%, flying about 1,500 passengers’ everyday, plus, cargo.
China and Africa has become close trade partners, with china expanding it’s economic and political ties on the continent.
The suspension of travel, especially to china is really a big hit to African aviation, considering the fact, that it is the main and largest foreign business partner at the moment.
Survival and airlines bailout
As seen in other continents, where the government is standing up for their aviation industry via the call made by IATA for airline bailout, such is also expected from the African government to step in and support the airlines, so as to avoid further damage and loss caused by covid-19 outbreak.
Yes stopping the spread of covid-19 pandemic is government top priority, but they should also be in the know of the catastrophe hovering over the aviation industry and the effect of it in the economy if necessary measures are not put in place.
According to Adefunke Adeyemi, IATA’s Regional Director for Advocacy and Strategic relations in Africa, “From the government, our call to action is for the government to provide relief either through stimulus packages or through suspension of aeronautical charges, alleviation or reduction of some taxes. It is really important now because we can see the importance of connectivity”.