The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has lamented the fate of African airlines occasioned by the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Speaking at a media roundtable, IATA’s Vice President, Africa and Middle East, Muhammad Ali, said the continent’s carriers are currently battling for survival.
Ali stressed that already, Air Mauritius has entered voluntary administration, South African Airways and SA Express are in business rescue.
He noted that other distressed carriers have placed staff on unpaid leave or signalled their intention to cut jobs.
In the Middle East, he said Etihad Airways, Qatar, Emirates have all confirmed that they have forced to make redundancies because of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
The IATA chief further disclosed that airline revenue losses means GDP and jobs at risk.
He puts airlines revenue loss at $6 billion, job losses in aviation and related industries at $3.1 million, loss in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) supported by aviation at $28 billion.
In the Middle East, Al Bakri puts airline revenue loss at $24 billion, job losses in aviation and related industries at $1.2 million and loss in GDP supported by aviation at $66 billion.
He stated that the main priority is to secure relief for industry through government engagement across the region through direct financial support, loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market.
Others, he said, are reduction, waiver or deferral of government-imposed taxes and fees.