| Navigating Turbulent Skies
2020 started off on a turbulent note, owing to the rapid spread of the COVID 19 that has seen unprecedented impact on the air transport industry and economies globally. The African Airlines Association identifies with and joins the rest of the world, and specifically the global aviation industry, in collaborative efforts to deal with and attempt to contain the universal pandemic of COVID-19.
As of 19 March 2020, more than 640 COVID-19 cases in 34 African countries had been reported. The global economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is set to be more profound than that of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a similar virus that spread from China in 2003, owing to the much larger role that China plays in the global economy today. However, much depends on the duration of the disruption. At this point, more and more governments are imposing quarantine measures and economies are experiencing reduced activity. Demand for air travel has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has resulted in airlines making substantial schedule changes.
AFRAA strongly recommends that African airlines engage their stakeholders to develop an all-inclusive proactive response strategy that addresses the adverse impact of the COVID-19 on their business. The global trends show that the impact of the COVID-19 is going to be severe, in fact, there are already casualties of this pandemic in the likes of airlines that have ceased operations and countries that have gone into complete lockdown. It is our collective responsibilities as airlines to ensure that our industry in general and our businesses in particular are given the highest priority in the allocation of resources and in turn in the execution of effective rescue plans.
In view of the toll of COVID-19 on the aviation industry and global economy at large, AFRAA urges African governments to consider the compensation of inevitable losses, the alleviation of exogenous operating costs, and the subsidization of the African airlines in a bid to assure the industry’s viability.
In light of the proactive protection measures and travel restrictions, AFRAA has rescheduled dates for events, meetings and workshops that had been scheduled to take place up to May 2020. The 9th Aviation Stakeholders Convention to take place on 26-28 July 2020 in Nairobi while the dates of other affected meetings and workshops shall be communicated in due course.