Mauritius remains most impacted: AFRAA

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  • Connectivity at Nairobi JKIA reduced mainly due to schedule adjustments and frequency reduction of Kenya Airways.

June 07, 2021: The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has posted that the traffic recovery for January – May was 37 percent of 2019 level for African airlines. In May alone, traffic declined by 62.2 percent compared to same month in 2019. Similarly, capacity declined 53.1 percent compared to May 2021. Mauritius remains the most impacted hub, with a reduction of 98 percent of possible connections to/from African airports compared to March 2020. Connectivity at Nairobi JKIA reduced mainly due to schedule adjustments and frequency reduction of Kenya Airways.

Demand for domestic passenger travel continues to out-perform intra-Africa and intercontinental at 61.5 percent compared to 23.1 percent for intra-Africa and 15.1 percent for intercontinental. In terms of capacity seats offered, domestic, intra-Africa and intercontinental account for 47.7 percent, 27.2 percent and 25.1 percent, respectively.

After three consecutive months of increase in the number of international routes operated by African airlines (February-April), May saw a dip following border closure announcements by the governments of Algeria and Morocco resulting in airlines in the two countries suspending some routes. Ethiopian, RwandAir and SA Airlink however re-opened more routes in May. But the general constrained passenger demand is due to continued increase in Covid-19 cases globally, constantly evolving travel health advisories as well as restrictive access to many tourist sites around the world.

With the low volume of traffic, airlines continue to suffer major losses month after month. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, airlines loss $2.6 billion and the estimate for Q2 is $2.5 billion. In 2020, African airlines cumulatively loss $10.21 billion.

In related Covid-19 developments:

  • The government of Tanzania introduced more restrictive Covid-19 travel advisory effective May 4, 2021 to align with similar restrictions in the region.
  • The Nigeria announced it will deny entry to all passengers originating from Brazil, India and Turkey. Airlines that land passengers from any of these countries will be subjected to a fine of not less than $3,500 per passenger.
  • In South Africa, the business rescue practitioners filed a notice on 30 April, which ended the rescue and restructuring process of South African Airways, saying the airline was now solvent and liquid.

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