Africa: Airlines lost USD 8.1 billion in 2020


The smile of the hosts of the Ethiopian company hides the fragility of an African sky that accumulates losses.

In Africa, airlines lost USD 8.1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the airline industry, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) announced. According to its analysis unveiled in May 2020, “the recovery is expected to begin from the third quarter of the current year.” “The financial impact is expected to be severe for 2020. If nearly 6.7 billion were recorded as revenue in 2019, only 1.7 billion passenger revenues are expected in 2020, a decrease of 5 billion,” she notes. AFRAA, which reports 12.64 billion passenger segment revenues in 2019, estimates revenue for 2020 at $4.53 billion.

For some major African airlines, AFRAA assesses their losses in terms of available seats removed as a result of Coronavirus. They are measured in ASK (standard measurement unit in the air sector). As a result, Ethiopian Airlines has lost a capacity of 3.8 billion available seats per kilometre. It is followed, in descending order, by South African Airways, with -1.9 billion ASK; Egyptair with -1.7 billion; Royal Air Maroc with -1.6 billion; Kenya Airways with -1.3 billion; Air Algeria with -900 million; Air Mauritius with -700 million and Tunisair ‘ with 500 million euros. “Capacity fell by ASK 16.169 billion in May, or 78.40% year-on-year,” the study, conducted between mid-April and mid-May 2020, said. It aimed to identify the reduction in passenger traffic revenues, which is estimated at nearly 14% for the first quarter of 2020 and more than 90% for the second quarter.

AFRAA plans a gradual recovery in activity in the second half of 2020. This represents approximately 40% of the traffic generated in the third quarter of 2019 which is expected to be insured during the same period. “This rate would rise to 70% in the last months of 2020,” AFRAA hopes.

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