Aviation: African International Traffic Up 72.7% in June Compared to Pre-COVID-19 Period, as aviation agency, AFRAA estimates US$2.4 billion loss in second quarter

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The African Airlines Association (AFRAA), has said International Traffic for the continent grew up 72.7% in June compared to Pre-COVID-19 period as it estimates US$2.4 billion loss in second quarter of the year.

According to airlinegeeks.com, even with the disastrous 2020, the havoc caused by the pandemic is still far from over with the COVID-19 new strain, Delta variant spreading at an alarming rate.

African Airlines Association (AFRAA) yesterday released its June 2021 indicating that Africa currently accounts for a worrying number of new infections since the beginning of June. The countries most affected include Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana and Kenya, which are experiencing very high infection rates.

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The Coronavirus Disease has resulted in significant changes to airline schedules and operations in June 2021, with the airlines’ traffic decreasing by 59% compared to the same month in 2019. Similarly, capacity declined by 49.6% as of June 2021.

Nevertheless, Domestic markets continue to record better performance with demand for passenger travel outperforming intra-Africa and intercontinental at 63.2% as opposed to 22.2% for intra-Africa and 13.9% for intercontinental. As regards passenger capacity, domestic, intra-Africa and intercontinental account for 47.8%, 22.3% and 21.7% respectively.

Nigeria however, has seen a positive uptick in passenger traffic with 14,662 flights operated on domestic routes between January and March 2021, according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

READ: Aviation: Brussels Airport sees passenger traffic down by 89% due COVID protocol as Cargo volumes up 72% compared to 2019

The total number of flights operated in Africa has not quite rebounded yet to pre-pandemic levels but has increased significantly since the all-time monthly low in May 2020.

The restart of international routes continued the positive trend observed in the last couple of months. From a May 2021, recovery of some 62.5% of international routes compared to the pre-Covid period, June 2021 saw an additional 10.2% increase to 72.7%.
This impressive trend is partly attributable to the reopening of international borders by Algeria and Morocco after more than a year of closure in the case of Algeria.

Regarding intra-African connectivity, Mauritius continues to be the most impacted hub, with a reduction of 98% of possible connections to/from African airports compared to February 2020.

Connectivity at Nairobi JKIA in June declined mainly due to schedule adjustments and frequency reduction by the national carrier, KQ. Up North, intra-African connectivity for Algiers and Cairo decreased by 75% and 64% respectively.

In general, Africa passenger traffic volumes across remain low due to the inconsistencies in the messaging regarding border closures, health protocols and the continued upsurge in Covid-19 infections in some countries with the result seeing significant losses incurred by airlines.

In the first quarter of 2021, AFRAA estimates airlines’ loss in revenues at US$2.6 billion. The estimated loss in revenues for quarter two is US$2.4 billion. In 2020, African airlines cumulatively lost $10.21b in revenues due to the impacts of the pandemic.

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