“Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus led to a fall in air travel demand due to the suspension of both international and domestic flights, quarantines, and lockdowns. At the beginning of the outbreak, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said airlines could suffer a loss of $113 billion.
The International Air Transport Association also said traffic in Africa fell by 89%. Despite the losses and pressures suffered beneath the weight of the pandemic, African airlines managed to keep their heads above water due to the resolve for survival.
Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s leading carrier, managed to close the year with profits of around 2.85 billion euros at the end of June. This is still a shortfall compared to the forecast of over 3 billion euros. Ethiopian airlines faced a heavy toll with more than U$1 billion in lost revenue, but managed to reach that profit level by quickly diversifying to cargo flights.
According to the CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, the situation could have been worse if it had not swiftly adapted to a 90% drop in international passenger traffic. Due to the resilience and agility of the airline displayed during the pandemic, Airbus, the largest aircraft manufacturer awarded the airline.
Airbus Vice President Sales Africa and Levant Customer Affairs, Mr. Hadi Akoum said
Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam who received the award on behalf of the airline said
Royal Air Maroc
The Moroccan national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, also developed an innovative way to survive the pandemic. The airline is offering customers free insurance packages with the purchase of a ticket in the event of coronavirus infections contracted during an international trip between December 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021.
In Accra, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, Ghana signed an MOU with EgyptAir towards the operation of a national carrier. The Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda said “once the airline is set up, it is expected to play a key role in passenger and cargo transport within the continent and between Africa and other parts of the world”.
Burundi also announced intentions to create a new national carrier in 2021. Johannesburg-based aviation expert, Phuthego Mojapele said