September 23, 2021: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the government of Ethiopia to continue its focus on maintaining efficient air connectivity amid the Covid-19 crisis. This will place Ethiopia in a strong position to weather the crisis and speed up the eventual industry and economic recovery.

“We congratulate Ethiopia for the positive steps it has taken to promote travel and air service connectivity throughout the pandemic. This includes accepting vaccinated travellers without restrictions, managing the cost of PCR testing to ensure it is affordable and implementing a testing regime which accepts both PCR and rapid antigen tests. These measures should put Ethiopia on a faster track to recovery, not just for air transport but across the economy,” said Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and Middle East.

Passenger traffic to, from and within Ethiopia in June 2021 was 30 percent less than in June 2019, a significant improvement on the 47 percent drop for January 2021 compared to January 2019. Passenger demand is expected to recover to pre-Covid levels by 2023.

Ethiopia’s June performance was well ahead of the -66.6 percent (compared to 2019) recorded for the African continent.

Few priorities to support and sustain a recovery include:

Releasing blocked funds: Approximately $59 million (as of August) in airline funds are being blocked from repatriation in Ethiopia. Resolving this quickly is critical for airlines to continue providing connectivity needed to sustain jobs and energise economies as they recover from Covid-19.

Implementing the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM): Post-pandemic SAATM will provide an even more important economic boost to the continent. Full implementation of SAATM across the continent would generate significant economic benefits for Ethiopia, namely creating 21,000 new jobs and adding $81.8 million to the GDP.

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