African airlines lost $10.21 billion in passenger revenues in 2020, according to a report by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).
This underperformance was accompanied by a decline in the number of scheduled passengers carried by African airlines from 95 million in 2019 to 34.7 million in 2020.
That is to say, a 63.7% year-on-year decline, according to the same source, which states that the decline in traffic continued until June, before being reversed with the gradual opening of borders.
"2020 was an exceptionally difficult year in the history of aviation. The travel industry was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic," lamented AFRAA in its report, which provides an in-depth analysis of the African air transport industry's performance for 2020.
Covering financial performance, passenger and cargo traffic trends, airport rankings, intra-African connectivity and openness.
According to AFRAA, North Africa was the leading region in terms of passenger volumes, accounting for 36.6% of total continental traffic, followed by East Africa with a 22.2% share.
Johannesburg and Cairo were the busiest airports in Africa in 2020, the AFRAA report notes.
In terms of cargo volumes, Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport came out on top with more than 330,000 tons of cargo handled during 2020, followed by Cairo Airport with 280,000 tons.
The Association also stresses the need for African countries to develop their connectivity. "Intra-African connectivity remains low.
African airlines should seize the opportunity to develop their intra-African network, especially in this period when the European Union has limited travel to Europe, "pleaded AFRAA.