The International Air Transport Association has revealed that Nigerian airlines lost $2.09bn in April and June.

IATA, in its report, titled, ‘Quarantine measures threaten aviation restart in Africa and the Middle East,’ noted that aviation was the worst-hit sector in Africa and the Middle East with more than 8.6 million jobs at risk. The report did not provide the data for May.

According to the report, passenger numbers in Nigeria declined in April and June by 4.7 million and 5.32 million respectively when compared to the corresponding periods in 2019.

It said 125,400 jobs were at risk in April while 139,500 jobs were estimated to be at risk for the month of June.

The IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Muhammad Albakri, charged for alternatives to government-imposed quarantine on Africa and Middle East countries as it affected the profitability of the travel and tourism sector.

He said, “It is critical that AME governments implement alternatives to quarantine measures. AME has the highest number of countries in the world with government-imposed quarantine measures on arriving passengers.

“The region is effectively in complete lockdown with the travel and tourism sector shuttered. This is detrimental in a region where 8.6 million people depend on aviation for their livelihoods.”

In another report, IATA declared that the global passenger demand for air transport fell by 91.3 per cent in June.

It said passenger demand for air travel in May 2020 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) dropped by 91.3 per cent compared to May 2019.

According to the report, this was a little better than the 94 per cent annual decline recorded in April.

The improvement was driven by the recovery in some domestic markets, most notably China.

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IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, who reacted to the trend, was optimistic that things would look up in the sector.

He said, “May was not quite as terrible as April. That’s about the best thing that can be said.

“As predicted, the first improvements in passenger demand are occurring in domestic markets. International traffic remained virtually stopped in May.

“We are only at the very beginning of a long and difficult recovery. And there is tremendous uncertainty about what impact a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases in key markets could have.”

According to the May 2020 year-on-year statistics, Africa’s passenger demand for air travel fell by 97.9 per cent; while its capacity metrics such as Available Seat Kilometres, fell by 79.9 per cent.

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