The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says Africa’s aviation sector could lose about $0.7 billion in 2022 due to slow COVID-19 vaccination rates.
The association disclosed this in a short video on its social media page.
It said lower vaccination rates slowed Africa’s air travel recovery, but some “catching up” could happen this year.
“In Africa, the financial performance of carriers has been upgraded,” IATA said.
“As the pace of aviation recovery quickens, carriers in the region are expected to post net losses of $0.7 billion in 2022, from $1.1 billion in 2021.
“Lower vaccination rates have dampened the region’s air travel recovery to date. Some catching up is likely this year. This will contribute to improved financial performance.
“In 2022, demand revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) in Africa is expected to reach 72 per cent of pre-crisis (2019) with capacity reaching 75.2 per cent.”
Meanwhile, the aviation sector in the region recorded a rise in traffic in May, according to a report released by the association last week.
The report said African airlines had a 134.9 percent rise in May RPKs, a metric used in measuring the traffic, versus a year ago.
According to the report, the capacity for May 2022 was up 78.5 percent, and load factor climbed 16.4 percentage points to 68.4 percent, the lowest among regions.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s director-general, advised governments to work more closely with operators.
“In the longer term, governments must improve their understanding of how aviation operates and work more closely with airports and airlines,” Walsh said.
“Having created so much uncertainty with knee-jerk COVID-19 policy flip-flops and avoiding most opportunities to work in unison based on global standards, their actions did little to enable a smooth ramping-up of activity.
“And it is unacceptable that the industry is now facing a potential punitive regulatory deluge as several governments fill their post-COVID-19 regulatory calendars.
“Aviation has delivered its best when governments and industry work together to agree and implement global standards.”