To minimize the impact on jobs and the broader African economy, accelerated recovery of air transport across the continent is vital. This can be achieved through government action in two priority areas:
Harmonizing the restart of air transport in Africa
The harmonized adoption of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Take-off Guidance - the global biosafety framework for the safe restart of aviation - is critical for the safe resumption of air transport. To avoid conflicting measures, disruptions, and inefficiencies, all countries, including those in Africa, must apply these recommendations consistently and uniformly, without imposing unnecessary border constraints such as quarantines, which deter passengers and suppress air travel demand.
According to ICAO, Rwanda is among the world's first countries to have fully complied with ICAO’s biosecurity recommendations. Barry Kashambo, Regional Director, ESAF speaking on behalf of the ICAO Regional Offices accredited to African States ICAO, said: “We recognize the efforts and actions by Rwanda and some other States, to fully implement the provisions of ICAO CART recommendations and Take-off guidance and measures. We encourage all Governments in Africa to prioritize the restart of aviation and tap into its potential as an enabler to Africa’s economic recovery post-COVID-19. Air connectivity is critical to economic and sustainable development and the movement of persons across the continent.”
Stepping up efforts to support the industry
Continued financial and regulatory support, particularly financial relief--that does not increase industry debt levels--through direct cash injections, credit or loans, and deferrals or discounts on user charges are essential to support airlines over the restart and recovery period.
"We are grateful to the few African governments that have provided relief to aviation so far - Rwanda, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Cabo Verde. Their actions have helped save thousands of jobs and enable some airlines to restart and support their wider economies. But the situation is worsening. Continued relief measures are essential to minimize job losses and ensure that connectivity can be restored. We urge African governments and the development institutions who have committed funding to provide it urgently in a structure that does not weaken already stressed airline balance sheets before it is too late,” said Albakri. (Resource 1)
According to data available, the full-year 2020 traffic will fall by 54% (more than 80 million passenger journeys) compared to 2019. The previous estimate was a fall of 51%. (Resource 3)