Egypt’s aviation industry has reported 9.5 million fewer passengers and $1.6bn in revenue losses due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced.
The latest figures mean that almost 205,560 jobs and $2.4bn in contributions to the Egyptian economy are now at risk.
The IATA called on governments across Africa and the Middle East to provide financial relief to airlines, and added that regional carriers now face potential revenue losses of $23bn. The agency noted that $19bn of that would be in the Middle East and $4bn for African carriers.
This translates into a forecast drop in industry revenues for 2020 of 32% for Africa and 39% for the Middle East as compared to 2019, the IATA said.
Accordingly, the IATA highlighted the impacts on some countries across the region. Saudi Arabia’s aviation industry witnessed 26.7 million fewer passengers, resulting in a $5.61bn revenue loss. This has also put 217,570 jobs at risk, as well as paving the way for $13.6bn loss in contributions to the Saudi economy.
The UAE’s aviation industry saw 23.8 million fewer passengers with a $5.36bn revenue loss, risking 287,863 jobs and $17.7bn in contributions to their economy.
Ethiopia’s aviation industry has seen 1.6 million fewer passengers resulting in a $0.3bn revenue loss, risking 327,062 jobs and $1.2bn in contributions to the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s aviation industry witnessed 2.5 million fewer passengers resulting in a $0.54bn revenue loss, putting 137,965 jobs and $1.1bn in contributions to its economy at risk.
The IATA also called for a mixture of direct financial support, loans, loan guarantees and support for corporate bond market tax relief. These steps would contribute to minimisng the broad damage that these losses would have across African and Middle East economies.
The agency called for industry support from regulators by providing a package of measures to ensure air cargo operations. This would include fast track procedures to obtain over-flight and landing permits, exempting flight crew members from 14-day quarantine, and removing economic impediments, such as overflight charges, parking fees, and slot restrictions.
These steps would come in addition to providing financial relief on Airport and Air Traffic Control (ATC) Charges and Taxes.
IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Muhammad Al Bakri, said “The air transport industry is an economic engine, supporting up to 8.6 million jobs across Africa and the Middle East and $186bn in GDP.”