Job losses in the aviation sector in Africa could reach 3.1 million due to the adverse effects of Covid-19, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which has called for capital relief for the region's airlines, which are expected to lose $6 billion in passenger revenue compared to the $2 billion previously forecast.
According to IATA, Kenya's aviation industry is expected to lose at least 193,300 jobs by the end of the year, as planned, as 3.5 million fewer passengers will result in a loss of $0.73 billion (78.8 billion shillings) in revenue and $1.6 billion (194 billion shillings) in contribution to the Kenyan economy.
South Africa will be the hardest hit with 252,100 jobs likely to be lost due to an estimated revenue loss of US$3.02 billion, followed by Nigeria where the aviation sector is expected to suffer a loss of US$0.99 billion (107 billion shillings) with 1,52400 online jobs, according to a new IATA report relayed by the Kenyan media.
Over the weekend, the CEO of Kenya Airways, Allan Kilavuka, told an international news portal that the national carrier urgently needed US$500 million (50 billion shillings) to recover from the coronavirus shock that eroded its half-yearly revenues by 50%.
The CEO said the funds could come in the form of equity or a loan from the government, which is in talks to buy out minority investors' shares in the nationalizing company.
Kilavuka added that the company will have to focus on reducing labour and aircraft leasing costs, its biggest fixed expenses, by $66 million (7.1 billion shillings) until the end of 2021.
Kenya Airways has already sacked some of its staff, including pilots, in recent months, but is in discussions with the unions to find better options for reducing costs without resorting to phased cuts that could affect 1,400 employees.
The airline will use only 24 aircraft over the next two to three years, out of its current fleet of 34 passenger and two cargo aircraft.