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IATA: International Flight Restrictions Puts 3.3m Jobs At Risk, Shrinks Africa’s GDP By $33 Billion

Africa's Aviation Industry

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has advised African Nations, not to throw caution to the wind as regards safety measures before restarting international operations as Africa’s aviation industry gradually begins to open up. 

Africa’s Aviation Industry is at risk of collapse, by putting about 3.3 million jobs in jeopardy. Also, it is predicted that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the African economy is going to experience $33 billion contractions.

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Furthermore, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also advised African governments to unlock bottlenecks around the industry. This is to help distressed businesses in urgent need of financial relief pledged for the air transport and tourism industry.

It is clear that the global body called on the African government to restart international flights. They also advised relevant stakeholders in the industry to implement the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) take-off guidance to ensure safety and precautions when restarting the industry.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and air travel restrictions, African airlines could lose about $2 billion in 2020, said IATA.

Financial Support To Africa’s Aviation Industry By Governments And Financial Institutions

According to IATA, the governments of Sub-Saharan Africa Rwanda, Senegal, Côte D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso had pledged a total of $311 million in direct financial support to air transport.

In addition, $30 billion has been promised by some governments, international finance bodies, and other institutions including the African Development Bank, African Export-Import Bank, African Union, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for air transport and tourism.

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However, there are reports that much of the relief is yet to reach those in need due to institutional bureaucracy, complex application and creditworthiness processes, as well as cumbersome conditions to secure finance.

“Over $30 billion in financial support has been pledged to aviation and tourism in Africa. Some of this money has been allocated by governments, but far too little of it has reached its intended recipients.

Governments and lenders need to urgently un-choke the bottlenecks so that the money can flow quickly, otherwise, it will be too late to prevent closures and job losses. There will be no point reopening the borders and skies if there is no industry left to speak of that is capable of supporting trade and tourism, which are the key components of any thriving economy,” said IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Muhammad Albakri.

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According to IATA, resuming the aviation sector safely in Africa is essential to get the continent’s economies up and running.

With African governments tentatively planning and considering the resumption of regional and intercontinental scheduled passenger flights, IATA is advocating for the harmonized adoption of the ICAO Take-Off guidance which outlines recommended biosafety measures.

It includes adequate physical distancing, wearing facemasks or coverings, enhanced sanitation and disinfection, health screening, contact tracing, and the use of passenger health declaration forms. It also calls for testing, where rapid and reliable testing is available. 

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One of the core aspects of the Travel and Tourism industry is Air Transport. More so, the sector supports directly or indirectly a combined livelihood of about 24.6 million people across the continent. This contributes $169 billion to Africa’s economy and represents 7.1 percent of the continent’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

“Containing the pandemic is the top priority. But, without a lifeline of funding to keep the sector alive, and a roadmap to restart aviation safely as soon as possible, the economic devastation of COVID-19 could take Africa’s development back a decade or more. Aviation supports livelihoods, trade, education, good health and wellbeing, quality education, reduces hunger and poverty, and ensures access to essential medical supplies and humanitarian aid, as proven throughout this crisis. Without an air transport industry, the people of Africa are at risk of not being able to realize their dreams and aspirations,” said Albakri.

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Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

See Also: Six step guide to create a business continuity plan.

Meanwhile, the federal government alongside relevant stakeholders are rolling out plans regarding lifting the international flight restrictions in the forthcoming month.

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