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IATA: African airlines’ traffic declined by 68% in February

IATA: African airlines’ traffic declined by 68% in February
April 08
16:15 2021

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says African airlines’ traffic dropped by 68 percent in February 2021 compared to the previous month and pre-COVID levels in February 2019.

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In a statement on Wednesday, IATA said the decline was a setback compared to a 66.1 percent decline recorded in January 2021.

It said February’s airline capacity in the continent contracted by 54.6 percent compared to February 2019, while load factor fell to 49.1 percent.

In February 2020, IATA’s analysis showed that African airlines’ traffic declined by 1.1 percent due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the continent and travel restrictions.

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It said February’s 2020 data was the weakest outcome since 2015.

Commenting on the latest development, Willie Walsh, IATA’s director-general, said: “February showed no indication of a recovery in demand for international air travel.

“In fact, most indicators went in the wrong direction as travel restrictions tightened in the face of continuing concerns over new coronavirus variants.

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“A relaxation of restrictions on domestic flying resulted in significantly more travel. This tells us that people have not lost their desire travel. They will fly, provided they can do so without facing quarantine measures.”

The IATA DG said with rapid tests for COVID-19 and availability of vaccines, governments across the world should be assured that there are ways to efficiently manage the risks of COVID-19 without relying on “demand-killing quarantine measures and/or expensive and time-consuming PCR testing.”

He said for an efficient restart of travel, the development of global standards for digital COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates with government’s agreement to accept certificates digitally is needed urgently.

Walsh said paper-based systems will not be sustainable when travel ramps up as they are “vulnerable to fraud” and requires “pre-COVID-19 staffing levels” to handle the paperwork.

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