Nigeria’s Aviation Industry Set To Lose A Whopping N160 Billion, 22,200 Jobs, Over The Coronavirus Pandemic

The disruption to air travel, due to the continued spread of the coronavirus, will cost Nigeria’s aviation industry over N160.58 billion (using Bureau de Change rate of N370 to $1) ($434 million), in revenue, and 22,200 jobs, the International Air Transport Association, IATA, has said.

The IATA said that the country would also lose approximately 2.2 million passengers.

The Association, an umbrella body for 290 Airlines globally, had in early March, projected 853,000 losses in passenger volumes, and $170 million loss in base revenues in Nigeria, if the spread of Covid-19 continues.

In its country-specific loss analysis, the IATA said that since the end of January, thousands of passenger flights had been cancelled in Africa.

It added that the cancellations would increase exponentially, with the implementation of additional measures in different countries.

IATA said: “International bookings in Africa are down roughly 20 percent, in March and April, domestic bookings have fallen by about 15 percent in March, and 25 percent in April, according to the latest data.

“African Airlines had lost $4.4 billion in revenue as of March 11, 2020. Ticket refunds have increased by 75 percent in 2020 ,compared to the same period in 2019 (01 February – 11 March).”

The Association said that South Africa would also lose 6 million passengers, $1.2 billion in base revenues, and risk over 102,000 jobs.

According to IATA, other African countries expected to record huge losses are Kenya ($320 million), Ethiopia ($202 million), and Rwanda ($52 million).

IATA stated that the expected job losses for Kenya would be 36,800; Ethiopia, 98,400; and Rwanda, 3,000; while loss in passenger volume would be 1.6 million, 1.2 million, and 201,000, for the three countries, respectively.

The Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, IATA, Alexander de Junaic, appealed for governments’ support for the industry.

He said: “Stopping the spread of Covid-19 is the top priority of governments. But they must be aware that the public health emergency has now become a catastrophe for economies and for aviation.

“The scale of the current industry crisis is much worse and far more widespread than 9/11, SARS or the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

“Airlines are fighting for survival. Many routes have been suspended in Africa and Middle East, and Airlines have seen demand fall by as much as 60 percent on remaining ones.”

In a related development, Air Peace has said that it is suspending its flight operations to Dakar, Senegal, and Monrovia, Liberia, as a result of the global coronavirus crisis.

The Airline stated that it would also be cutting down its Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Banjul, Gambia, operations to one flight a week, and would suspend its Dubai via Sharjah flights, from next week.

The Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, who made this known, said that the Airline would also be reducing its operations into Accra, Ghana, from Lagos, to two flights daily, and suspend its Abuja-Accra operations.

Olajide said: “Air Peace, as a result of the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic on passenger traffic, has today, taken the hard decision to downsize its flight operations, in order to cut the mounting costs occasioned by the pandemic.

“On the domestic scene, we are reducing our frequencies, while at the same time, restructuring our operations by deploying our hoppers to more Airports.

“Our international operations into Dubai through Sharjah International Airport, shall be suspended from next week, as the United Arab Emirates has shut its Airports to nationals from other countries, including but not limited to Nigeria.”

She revealed that the Airline took the decision after an emergency meeting following a decline in passenger traffic, and the need to cut costs.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has suspended training and exchange programmes involving foreign trips for all its staff.

In a statement signed by the regulatory Agency’s General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, on Thursday, the NCAA said that it was part of steps to protect its workforce from the coronavirus scourge.

Adurogboye stated that the NCAA had issued detailed guidelines for Officers of the Agency who had recently travelled abroad to self-isolate for 14 days, among other measures, upon their return to Nigeria.

He said: “This is just as a directive for the compilation of details of all NCAA staff already on any official assignments or training to a country where there is community transmission of Covid-19.

“This is to be forwarded to the Office of the Director-General and the General Manager, aero medical standards. All pending inspections, trainings, and various exchange programmes involving foreign trips are suspended forthwith.”

He disclosed that the Agency had also directed that the 2020 promotion exercise for staff scheduled to hold April 4, be suspended till further notice.

The regulatory Agency urged all travelling public and other Stakeholders, to comply with all the directives issued to curb the spread of the global pandemic.

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