Africa airline traffic declined 90.1% in August 2020 even as international flight operations in many African countries has resumed. This is, however, a slight improvement over the 94.6% decline recorded in July.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that four airlines across Africa have ceased operations due to the impact of Covid-19 while two are in voluntary administration. Others are in severe financial distress and could fold if they do not obtain financial bailouts.
IATA attributes financial distress of African airlines to lockdowns and border closures that still exist in many of the countries on the continent.
According to the Africa Centre for Disease Control, some 20 African countries remained under full border closure as of August 26th 2020.
Figures indicate that Asia-Pacific, European, Middle Eastern, North American and Latin American airlines carriers have also seen declines of 95.9%, 79.9%, 92.3%, 92.4% and 93.4% respectively.
According to IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac, the traffic slump is due to continued closure of borders by some countries. He said there is need for an agreed global regime of pre-departure COVID-19 testing to give governments the confidence to reopen borders, and passengers the confidence to resume air travel.
While IATA flight data shows that air passengers were up earlier in the month, this has been halted after some states put in new restrictions due to fresh COVID-19 infections.
IATA has revised its forecast airline traffic to drop to 66%. De Juniac said that IATA put fall in demand at 63% compared to 2019, and he had no idea it could get this bad. “With the dismal peak summer travel period behind us, we have revised our expectations downward to -66%,” said De Juniac.