Financial aid and the replacing of quarantine with testing are considered key priorities in order to help the aviation sector of Southern Africa to recover from the devastation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, due to the imposed travel restrictions, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced.

According to IATA’s statement, a total of 60 per cent of airline revenues from countries of Southern Africa has been predicted to decrease during this year, while the number of passengers is foreseen to reduce by 58 per cent, VisaGuide.World reports.

The air transport industry, which supports more than 7 million jobs on the continent, has announced that more carriers and their employees are at risk, without the government relief.

“Air transport and the industries it supports provide millions of jobs and millions of US dollars in economic activity in Southern Africa. It is crucial that this sector gets the help it needs to survive and be able to sustain a recovery. To date, South Africa is the only country in Southern Africa that has committed to providing direct financial support to aviation,” IATA’s Senior Vice President, Member and External Relations, Sebastian Mikosz, pointed out during the announcement.

Besides Air Transport Association, continuous calls on the governments to help the aviation sector, the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has also expressed their concerns to the authorities of the region regarding the current travel restrictions and other imposed bans.

According to AASA, “the continuation of inconsistent and arbitrary air travel restrictions” risks the jobs of nearly five-million persons.

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa urged the countries to support the air travel industry as well as the tourism sector.

However, a recent report of the Associated Press, revealed that one of the Southern African countries, South Africa’s Airways, suspended all the operations as it lacks more than 10 billion rands (or $591 million).

South Africa’s state-owned airline was criticized for mismanagement and corruption, before the Coronavirus situation. South Africa had been facing these accusations since December last year.

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