AIR TRAVEL

Africa's air economy to suffer from coronavirus effect - association

AFRAA says airline earnings to drop due to less travel

In Summary

•It is estimated that African airlines have lost $400m (Sh 40 billion) since the outbreak began with airlines suspending flights to and from China.

•According to AFRAA, air transport contributes $10.3billion(Sh 1.03 trillion) to Africa’s GDP covering 3 per cent.

Ethiopian airline lands at Moi International airport Mombasa. /FILE
Ethiopian airline lands at Moi International airport Mombasa. /FILE

The African Airlines Association(AFRAA) has said the coronavirus is expected to negatively impact on Africa’s aviation economy as airports are empty.

It is estimated that African airlines have lost $400m (Sh 40 billion) since the outbreak began with airlines like South African Airways, Air Tanzania, Air Mauritius, EgyptAir, and Kenya Airways all suspending flights to and from China.

Airlines that don’t travel to the Asian countries, which are mostly affected, will have a limited impact, the association said.

 

Continental flights however have not been majorly affected by the virus as it has not hit hard home.

According to the World Health Organization, ten African countries have coronavirus cases, with 3,892 deaths linked to the virus worldwide.

There are 111,354 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide and 62,375 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 

“On the brighter side, the decrease in crude oil prices in the world due to the deadly virus might reduce operating cost for the airlines,” said Abderahmane Berthe, Secretary-General, African Airlines Association.

Crude oil prices on Monday plunged after a fallout between Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut production in the wake of coronavirus.

According to AFRAA, air transport contributes $10.3billion(Sh 1.03 trillion) to Africa’s GDP covering three per cent.

African airlines are being cautious in the face of the coronavirus outbreak classified by the World Health Organization as a “public health emergency of international concern”.

 

With China producing about 49 per cent of manufactured goods in Africa the coronavirus will also affect the supply of these products to Africa due to the suspension of flights.

Abderahmane said African countries may need to look into other markets such as Europe to source for goods as the virus continues to spread.

The Chinese Embassy in Kenya end of February, however, said 90 per cent of major enterprises in eastern China's Zhejiang Province have resumed.

Zhejiang's economy is based on electromechanical industries, textiles, chemical industries, food, and construction materials.

“We need more time to be able to measure the full effect of the deadly virus on the airlines and Africa as a whole’” said Abderahmane.