African airlines expected to lose $1.9bn this year

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To survive airlines have dramatically cut costs and adapted their business.
To survive airlines have dramatically cut costs and adapted their business.
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African carriers will see a very slow pace of recovery in financial performance from a total $1.9 billion loss in 2021 to a $1.5 billion loss in 2022, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday.

Low vaccination rates across the continent are expected to severely dampen demand throughout 2022, but IATA expects some recovery in intra-Africa travel and travel to some tourist destinations with relatively higher vaccination rates.

IATA is hosting its hybrid 77th Annual General Meeting in Boston this week.

"The magnitude of the Covid-19 crisis for airlines is enormous. Over the 2020/22 period total losses could top $200 billion. To survive, airlines have dramatically cut costs and adapted their business to whatever opportunities were available," said IATA director general Willie Walsh.

Global cargo revenues are, however, expected to rise to a record $175 billion in 2021 with a similar $169 billion expected in 2022. 

"People have not lost their desire to travel as we see in solid domestic market resilience. But they are being held back from international travel by restrictions, uncertainty and complexity," said Walsh.

In 2021 IATA expects overall global demand for air transport to reach 40% of pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019. The average passenger load factor in 2021 is expected to be just 67.1%, a level not seen since 1994.

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