African Airlines set to resume operations
African Airlines are expected to resume operations in the third quarter of this year, amidst uncertainly of how they will recover from the estimated $8.1 billion (Sh862.2 billion) revenue losses incurred on account of the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Abdérahmane Berthé, Secretary General of African Airlines Association (Afraa), the Nairobi-based African aviation lobby group said resumptions will begin with domestic operations, followed by regional and intercontinental flights.
The Covid-19 crisis has caused border closures and country lockdowns, forcing airlines to ground their fleets and stop all but essential flights such as humanitarian aid, cargo and repatriation flights for citizens stranded abroad.
Berthé said year-on-year passenger numbers will decrease by 90.3 per cent, with shortage of cargo space as most airlines have prioritised carriage of medical equipment and essential goods.
The projections by Afraa is contained in its first series of analysis on the impact Covid-19 pandemic is having on the continent’s aviation sector.
Berthé said the survival and recovery of the airlines will require government bailouts and stimulus packages that compensate for the significant losses the airlines have had to bear because of the pandemic first detected in Kenya March.
Some countries have set up stimulus packages, with the International Air Transport Association calling for direct financial support, loans and tax relief.
Berthé said such relief should not be limited to subsidisation of state-owned carriers but also be aimed at privately-owned airlines.
“The availability of liquidity is the main issue to be addressed for airlines to survive and restart their operations.
Without it, airlines can simply not survive this pandemic long enough to restart their operations,” he said.
However, KQ as Kenya Airways is popularly known, appears to have started on the wrong footing, with the government declining to commit itself to a request for a Sh7 billion emergency funding.