Airlines call for bailout over Coronavirus pandemic

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 00:00 |
African Airlines Association (AFRAA).

Barry Silah @obel_barry

With lockdowns impeding travel industry globally, African Airlines Association (AFRAA) is calling for bailouts from governments and the financial sector to help various carriers.

In an online industry meeting of members, the lobby group called for urgent and consistent actions for the survival of the industry.

Secretary General Abderahmane Berthe said as the world experiences the adverse impact of coronavirus, aviation industry had emerged as one the worst affected. 

“African Airlines Association is in solidarity with the rest of the world in collaborative efforts to support the airline industry during these difficult times,” he said during a webnair meeting.

Posting profits

The association has estimated that the African Aviation Industry will lose more than $4 billion (Sh429 billion) as a result of the pandemic and with only Ethiopian Airlines posting profits in recent times on the continent, many of the industry players are in survival mode even before this pandemic.

This is coming following a difficult year for the continental air players which have lost in excess of Sh472 billion with airlines like South African Airlines bearing most of the brunt.

Kenya Airways said it recorded a loss of Sh858 million in revenues after the suspension of its Nairobi-Guangzhou route, amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

The airline sent some of its workers on an unpaid leave with effect from April 1, with the management team taking a 75 per cent pay cut, and the CEO getting an 80 per cent pay cut.

Berthe said that for African economies to recover, a vibrant aviation industry will be critical given the sector’s significant role in economic and social development.

A number of subject matter experts made presentations on how African airlines can create and implement their recovery plans in areas such as fleet and network repositioning, finance and cash flow issues, fuel trends and fuel efficiency measures among others.

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