The outbreak of the Covid-19 or the coronavirus could see African airlines lose around $40 million in revenue this year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Even though the Covid-19 epidemic is not so widespread in Africa, many airlines in the continent such as South African Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Air Tanzania, Air Mauritius, EgyptAir, RwandAir and Kenya Airways have suspended flights to and from China.
However, Africa’s largest carrier Ethiopian Airlines continues to operate flights to and from China. The carrier has come under criticism for not cancelling its flights to China while other African carriers have done so. Interestingly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised countries against banning flights.
Tewolde GebreMariam, chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines recently revealed that air travel demand for Ethiopian Airlines has declined by 20 percent due to the epidemic.
According to Raphael Kuuchi, vice-president at the International Air Transport Association, the losses suffered by the airline since the Coronavirus outbreak is due to the cancellations of flights to China.
So far, coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, and Senegal.
When it comes to cancellation of flights to China, it is not just the African airlines; instead, airlines from all over the globe have cancelled flights to China.
The International Air Transport Association further revealed that the global aviation industry could see revenue losses of around $29 billion in 2020, which is a 4.7 percent industry-wide drop in revenue per passenger kilometer.
Around $27.8 billion of the revenue loss due to the coronavirus epidemic will be suffered by Southeast Asian airlines.