Damning impact of COVID- 19 on air travel would cost Nigeria and other Africa’s economies 3.5 million aviation jobs, triggering a contraction of continental Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $35 billion in 2020, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said yesterday. Until the pandemic outbreak, aviation’s contribution to African labour force and the GDP topped 6.2 million jobs and $56 billion.
In its commentary on aviation business in Africa and the Middle East, IATA noted that air traffic in Africa and the Middle East witnessed the most fall of all regions in July relative to 2019 levels with passenger traffic crashing by as much as 93.7% year on year.
It, however, recommended that testing be adopted in place of widespread quarantine measures as the two regions reopened their economies in order to revitalise aviation operations. Number of countries that had embraced quarantine measures between August and now, leapt from 7 to 35, causing bigger disruption to air travel, the IATA said. IATA’s Regional Vice- President for Africa and the Middle East, Muhammad Albakri disclosed that testing offered a more preferable option to quarantine, noting its capacity to put a stopper to the grievous socio- economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.