• In 2020, a handful of African airlines secured $2.04 billion in government aid.

April 05, 2021: The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) outlined three priorities for African governments to ensure that the airline, travel and transport industry survives the Covid-19 crisis and is able to support economic recovery, growth and development throughout the continent.

The three priorities are:

  • Continued financial relief and the release of committed aid and blocked funds
  • Safe reopening of borders
  • Planning for the safe restart of operations

In 2020, a handful of African airlines secured $2.04 billion in government aid. Most of this ($2.02 billion) was distributed through direct government loans, equity financing and cash injections. Despite this, 8 airlines in Africa filed for bankruptcy or entered business administration over the past 12 months.

Over $30 billion has been pledged for air transport and tourism in Africa by International finance agencies and other institutions including the African Development Bank, African Export Import Bank, African Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). On top of this $ 601 million in airline funds remains blocked in Africa across 17countries (Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burundi, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Gabon, Cameroon, Chad, Congo and Zimbabwe) putting further pressure on airlines as they struggle for survival.

“African airlines posted a combined $2 billion loss in 2020. This year we expect only a slight improvement ($1.7 billion loss) as the struggle with Covid-19 continues. Looking ahead it is unlikely that traffic will return to post Covid-19 levels until 2023. Financial relief measures are still desperately needed, particularly those that do not increase the industry’s debt burden. Additional relief measures and activating existing pledges are essential,” said Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA regional vice president Africa and the Middle East.

The African Union has taken leadership in preparing for the safe restart of aviation in Africa through its “Saving Lives, Economies, and Livelihoods" campaign. IATA supports the AU’s efforts and urges governments in Africa to:

IATA has developed IATA Travel Pass to manage health credentials, protect against fraud and enable a convenient travel process. It is being trialed by a number of airlines and airports around the world, including Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir in Africa.

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