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African airlines blame strict travel guidelines for continued poor performance

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NAIROBI, Kenya February 3 – Strict travel advisories have continued to depress airline performance in Africa with figures still below 2019 capacity, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has said.

According to AFRAA, revenues for African airlines have remained weak, with many operators struggling with cash flow problems with a loss of revenue for the year 2021 estimated at $8.6 billion.

This equates to 49.8% of 2019 revenue.

“Due to these uncoordinated measures, air passenger traffic from January to December was only 42.3% compared to the same period in 2019,” AFRAA noted.

Capacity has improved and reached 52.7% in January 2022, and AFRAA expects it to increase from 6.3% to 59% during the year.

According to the airline lobby group, the domestic market has retained the largest share of deployed capacity, although actual passenger traffic has seen a decline.

Domestic demand stood at 42% and outperformed intra-Africa and intercontinental which remained weak at 31.9% and 25.6% respectively.

Of the actual number of passenger seats offered, domestic, intra-African and intercontinental flights account for 47.3, 24.9 and 27.8% respectively.

By the end of 2021, African airlines had restored around 80.8% of their pre-Covid international routes, although frequencies remain low.

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Intra-African connectivity reached 76% of the pre-Covid level in November 2021 and increased to 80% in December.

AFRAA predicts that intra-African connectivity will return to 76% in January 2022 due to the closure of some roads.

“Across Africa in general, passenger traffic volumes remain depressed due to the unilateral and uncoordinated health restrictions imposed by some governments following the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COV-2,” the official said. ‘AFRAA.