The deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) which has now spread over 60, with 93,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths in China, is projected to hurt the African airline landscape, taking away $40 million in revenue.
At the moment, Africa has witnessed confirmed cases in Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
The outbreak has made big-industrial players such as British Airlines, United Airlines, Cathay Pacific to trim their routes to various destination, including northern Italy, South East Asia, to evade further trouble with the virus.
On that line, African airlines have taken their own path to curb the scenario, as Tanzania’s emerging airline halted its scheduled flights to China, Kenya’s court order made Kenya Airways postpone flights to China, and Rwanda did the same.
However, Ethiopia faced criticism for not realizing the flights’ cancellation to China, like its fellow players.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global aviation industry is projected to be $29 billion in 2020, which is a 4.7 per cent industry-wide drop in revenue per passenger-kilometre.
Also, IATA forecasted that African airlines could make a loss of $200 million this year, similar to 2019.
Further, Tewolde GebreMariam, chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier, said before delegates attending the aviation conference, that the virus had slashed passenger demand.
“The air travel demand for Ethiopian Airlines has declined by 20 per cent due to the corona,” Tewolde told Reuters.
In addition, according to information from Reuters, on Tuesday, Kenya halted direct flights from Italy’s northern cities of Verona and Milan, which usually head to the Kenyan coast. Northern Italy has seen Europe’s biggest cluster of coronavirus cases.
According to IATA, Africa is set to become one of the fastest-growing aviation regions in the next 20 years with an annual expansion of nearly 5 per cent.