The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) projects that African airlines will lose up to KSh956 billion in 2021 due to new travel restrictions related to the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
According to the lobby group, passenger traffic volumes continue to be low due to inconsistency in messaging about border closures, health protocols and an ever-increasing increase in infections in some countries.
“The new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has prompted a fresh round of travel restrictions across the world and raised concern about what may be next in the pandemic,” AFRAA said.
The UK was among the first to halt flights to and from South Africa, but others including Gulf airlines such as Etihad Airways and Emirates, the US and China followed. Caught up in the travel restrictions are seven of South Africa’s neighbours, including Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.
Last year, the lobby said African airlines’ lost KSh1.2 trillion in revenues, an estimated 58.8% of 2019 levels.
The African Airlines Association is a trade association of airlines which hail from Africa. AFRAA was founded in Accra, Ghana in 1968, and is, as of February 2021, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. The primary purpose of AFRAA is to establish and facilitate cooperation between African airlines.