Nairobi — African airlines’ restart of operations on international routes have taken off on a positive trend into November with four airlines exceeding their performance in the pre-COVID-19 period, new data shows.
The data from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) reveals that the international routes accounted for 80.8 percent of trips as the sector that was hard hit by the air space closures for the better part of last year recovered.
Even so, this is a slight decrease from 81.3 per cent recorded in October due to some airlines that pulled out of some of the international routes, such as Air Arabia Maroc and EgyptAir.
Airports such as Abidjan and Dakar exceeded their level of connectivity in February 2020.
However, the connectivity in Mauritius remained at 98 per cent lower than in February 2020.
The data shows that intra-African connectivity reached 78 per cent of the pre-COVID levels in October 2021.
Further, the domestic market maintained the biggest share for capacity but reduced traffic in August 2021, the data shows.
This is as demand for domestic passengers outperformed intra-Africa and intercontinental at 39 per cent compared to 29.3 per cent for intra-Africa and 31.6 per cent for intercontinental.
Both intra-Africa and intercontinental displayed an increase in traffic.
From January to November 2021, air passenger traffic reached 41.6 percent while capacity stood at 58 percent.
The low evolution of passenger traffic was attributed to the ongoing travel restrictions and low willingness of travelers.
Across the African continent in general, passenger traffic volumes continued to be low due to the inconsistencies in the messaging regarding border closures, health protocols and continued surge in Covid-19 infections in some countries, AFRAA noted
The association however, notes that the most recent Omicron variant could result in significantly low airlines revenues.
AFRAA forecasts a 2021 full-year revenue loss of $8.5 billion, 49 per cent of the 2019 revenues.
In 2020, African airlines cumulatively lost $10.21billion in revenues due to the impact of the pandemic, representing 58.8 per cent of 2019 revenues.
AFRAA noted that this poor performance is a direct threat to the survival of the African aviation industry.