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Covid pushes African airlines to Sh1.1 trillion loss in 2020

African airlines lost $10.21 (about Sh1.1 trillion) in passanger revenue last year, a report by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) indicates.

This came with a drop in the number of scheduled passengers carried by African airlines, which fell from 95 million in 2019 to 34.7 million in 2020, representing a year-on-year decline of 63.7 per cent.

The reduction in traffic continued until June, before reversing with the gradual opening of borders.

Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways, reported a Sh36.6 billion loss for the 12 months to December 2020.

“2020 was an exceptionally difficult year in history. The travel industry was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” AFRAA says in the report which gives an in-depth analysis of Africa’s air transport industry performance for 2020.

It covers financial performance, passenger and cargo traffic evolution, airport ranking, intra-Africa connectivity, and openness.

Northern Africa was the leading region in terms of passenger volumes, representing 36.6 per cent of the total continental traffic.

This was followed by Eastern Africa with a share of 22.2 per cent.

Johannesburg and Cairo were the busiest airports in Africa in 2020 according AFRAA.

The only West and Central African airport in the top 10 ranking is Lagos.

In terms of cargo volumes, Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was top, handling more than 330 thousand tonnes of freight during the year 2020.

Cairo was second with 280 thousand tonnes.

In terms of airport charges, Lusaka had the highest level of airport charges while Mahe Island had the lowest.

“Some of the busiest airports in Africa like Johannesburg, Addis, Algiers are among the least expensive. This indicates that lowering the airport charges can have a positive effect on traffic,” the association notes.

Among the 54 countries in the African continent, 13 have direct flights to more than 20 African countries.

Ethiopia and Kenya lead with 30 direct flights and more to other countries…

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