African Airlines Resumed Operations To 99.2% Of Routes Operated Before Pandemic, AFRAA Says

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The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has announced updates on the African airlines performance and related industry issues as at September 2022.

AFRAA said “This September, traffic and airlines capacity deployed reached 82.52% and 82.1% of the 2019 level respectively. Domestic market share is now at 39.5% capacity and 32.8%% of passengers carried while intra-Africa passengers carried represented 29.5% and corresponding capacity at 24%.”

AFRAA also said “Intercontinental traffic this month is 37.6% and capacity 36.5%,” noting that “African airlines have now resumed operations to 99.2% of routes operated before the pandemic.”

Furthermore, eight African airlines have exceeded the number of international routes they operated before COVID, while there are improvements in Asia compared to last month, AFRAA stated.

“The region is reopening and easing movement restrictions linked to the Covid-19. In Europe however, there are renewed fears of the occurrence of an 8th wave of Covid-19 infections, especially in the UK where a rise in the number of new cases is growing. In Africa, the number of new contaminations remains low. The total case count has reached 619 million and 12.6 million worldwide and in Africa respectively. The global recovery rate is 98.9%. Only 22.3% of Africans have received at least one vaccine compared to the global average of 67.9%.”

On Airline performance, AFRAA estimates revenue loss for 2022 to be $3.5 billion, equivalent to 20% of 2019 full year revenues, noting that the projected revenue loss due to COVID for the third quarter of 2022 is approximately $800 million.

It also revealed that Jet fuel price continues the upward trend, saying year to date, global average price per barrel is $142, while impact on global airlines fuel bill is estimated at $131.6 billion for the full year.

Looking at regulatory developments, AFRAA also stated that “the Indian government has imposed bans on certain single-use plastics (SUP) products through a series of regulations. It appears that airlines and their catering partners will not be able to source these restricted items in India. Members with operations to India may wish to obtain advice on the ban from their legal teams.” (See the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, as amended, and 2021)

AFRAA also disclosed that China has reviewed its data protection and privacy laws.  “The Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) has published the final version of its Measures for Security Assessment of Cross-Border Data Transfers related to cross borders transfers of data outside of China,” a draft of which is here available.

According to AFRAA, Since the late 1970s, airlines with international operations have been required to file a duplicate and documented airline security program prior to, during and post scheduled services between countries. IATA has been working with ICAO to get this redundant requirement modified at the ICAO Annex 17 level to reduce the burden on airlines. ICAO Amendment 18 to Annex 17 is now effective and will become applicable in November 2022. For more details see IATA information paper and ICAO guidance on how best to implement these new requirements.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on ancillary fees on 26 September. Operators to the US market are encouraged to study review the NPRM and submit comments to the DOT, AFRAA also added.

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