Johannesburg, South Africa - The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) and the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) are calling on the South African government to provide specific financial relief to the aviation sector to address the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
IATA estimates that revenues generated by airlines in the South African market will fall by $3 billion (about ZAR 55bn) in 2020, 56% below 2019 levels. That puts at risk 252,100 South African jobs and $5.1billion (about ZAR 93bn) of South Africa’s GDP, which is generated by aviation directly and air transport-dependent tourism.
During these extraordinary times, as the South African government announces the relaxation of lockdown from level 4 to level 3, it is important to ensure that aviation is well positioned to be able to provide air services to support business and the traveling public as the economy continues to open up. The concessions and support requested becomes even more critical at the time of the re-start of aviation where there will be pressure on depleted cash reserves to fund operations. Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO
South African authorities have provided support for air transport by temporarily suspending airport slot use rules and extending the validity of personnel licenses and certifications, which have been welcomed by the air transport industry. However, urgent financial support from the government is needed now to keep the sector alive and ensure that its air transport system emerges fit and capable of fulfilling a crucial role as a primary economic enabler and job creator.
“Aviation is vital for connecting markets and moving people and goods between them. It is not an indulgence of the rich, but an enabler of economic wealth for everyone. Without a viable air transport sector, recovery will be drawn out and painful. South Africa’s economy had already slowed before the crisis, with unemployment at record levels. Fully supporting aviation now is critical if the economy is to expand at a pace that will make a positive difference to its citizens’ lives,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East. Read the original article... or download the press release [.pdf]
If a successful airline like Comair needs help, they all do, and they want the government to show them the money.
JSE-listed Comair’s decision last week to go into business rescue sent shockwaves through the aviation industry because for more than 70 years it consistently delivered annual profits.
The prevailing view in aviation circles is if this can happen to Comair, which is solvent, it can happen to anyone.
Though Comair is not the first SA airline to enter business rescue — state-owned SAA went this route in December 2019 — it is the first high-profile victim of Covid-19 in the industry. Read the original article...
Geneva - Five international air transport and tourism bodies have launched an appeal to international financial institutions, country development partners and international donors to support Africa’s Travel and Tourism sector which employs some 24.6 million people on the African continent. Without urgent funding, the COVID-19 crisis could see a collapse of the sector in Africa, taking with it millions of jobs. The sector contributes
$169 billion to Africa’s economy combined, representing 7.1% of the continent’s GDP.
The impact of COVID-19 in Africa continues to be brutal. Air travel and tourism have essentially shut down. Now, more than ever, international countries need to come together to help those communities that are most vulnerable. The survival of our industry and its allied sectors has serious ramifications for Africa’s entire air transport system.
Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO
The request is being made by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
These organisations are jointly calling on international financial institutions, country development partners and international donors to support the African Travel and Tourism sector through these tough times by providing:
South African airlines have a vital role to play in enabling the economy to try and rise out of the coronavirus induced recession. Yet, the country's airline industry itself is in danger of collapse due to flight bans since the start of the lockdown on 27 March, leading to zero revenues.
"We recognise that the primary objective is to prevent the virus from spreading, but the longer the airline industry is unable to fly, the more severe the risk becomes of loss of jobs and loss of airlines," warns Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
"We believe the airline industry can provide very safe and reliable transport to get the economy going around the country and when borders open, we can get regional and international travel back on track."
AASA will continue to work with all stakeholders in order to make this possible. Read the original article...
SA’s aviation industry is teetering on the brink of collapse as it tallies up the costs of a nationwide lockdown that has grounded hundreds of aircraft, putting nearly half-a-million jobs at risk, the head of an industry group said.
"If we do not start soon to operate [again] the situation will worsen and we will see further collapse. All airlines will be affected," Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa, told Business Day on Tuesday...Read the original article...
Business Day TV’s Michael Avery speaks to Elmar Conradie, CEO of Safair; Dr Joachim Vermooten, an independent transport economist; and Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) about the turbulent state of the South African aviation industry.
The airline industry wants government aid to help it weather the loss of revenue or some companies may go bust after all aircraft were grounded for the three-week lockdown this week.
Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA, said although the industry supported the national shutdown "it's going to have a devastating effect on the airline industry and the tourism industry in this country".
"There is definitely going to be a need for assistance," he said, and this could be in the form of provision for costs, or the reduction of airport charges and other fees. The industry body did approach the government before the lockdown although its request may have been shelved in last-minute preparations for the shutdown. Read the original article...
“Airlines throughout Southern Africa are complying with stringent international and local health and safety measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, but we urge any passengers who are feeling unwell, displaying any respiratory illness symptoms, or who may have come into contact with a carrier of the coronavirus, not to travel to airports or board flights,” affirmed AASA CEO Chris Zweigenthal. “Similarly, people who have recently travelled and who display symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness should seek medical attention and share their travel history with their healthcare provider.” Read the original article...
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced that the whole country will move to Level 3 of lockdown on June 1st. This means that airlines may resume operations. Sort of. Whether they will, remains to be seen. The aviation industry is eagerly awaiting details on just how they are to return to the skies.
South Africa’s own Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) expects domestic travel to only rebound to 60% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year...Read the original article...
Do we wait for the economy to restart and hope flying follows suit? Or, do we support an ailing industry with the belief that it is the egg to the economic chicken? Stephan Lombard, CapeTalk
With fleets of aeroplanes grounded; millions of passengers sitting at home and billions lost in revenue – the global aviation industry is in a freefall. As most countries around the world continue to protect their citizens from the spread of the coronavirus by keeping their borders closed and limiting international travel, experts predict that the repercussions for airlines will be devastating. The industry is in desperate need of financial relief but can it survive the impact?
Macfarlane Moleli interviews Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA, about the South African airline industrycrisis.
The global aviation industry is experiencing devastating financial losses during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is resulting in job losses, airline restructuring and the complete dismantling of airline businesses. Here in South Africa we have been served with our fair share of airline troubles as this week Comair entered into voluntary business rescue and SAA is looking at developing a new national carrier.
Joining CNBC Africa to unpack the latest on Southern Africa’s airline industry and national carrier South African Airways is Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA, gives an interview to SABC News about the airline industry in crisis and efforts to get us flying again.
Watch the IATA video appeal, published in conjuction with the press release, appealing to the international community to support the African travel and tourism sector.
"AASA was pleased to join the initiative by several international organisations calling for support from international financial institutions, country development partners and international donors to support Africa’s travel and tourism sector during these extraordinary times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this time, it is important to raise the concerns of our industry and seek the assistance necessary to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic able to re-start our industry and ramp up to meet customer demand in what will remain a challenging environment for many months, possibly years." said Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
Private airlines in the country battered by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, have joined their state-owned counterparts in a bid to be included in the government's COVID-19 rescue package.The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has written to the National Treasury asking for urgent intervention from government in the airline industry, following the prohibition of air travel as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus in the country.
"Aviation will be a crucial role-player in the South African recovery plan for business travel, tourism, trade and the economy in general, being an enabler for the quick and efficient transport of people and goods. Whilst many states around the world are considering aid to support their own airlines, it is important that South Africa does the same for its own," AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal said in a letter dated April 17, 2020...Read the original article...
Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA, gives an interview to Business Day TV on the state of the local and international aviation sector.
L AASA PRESS RELEASE/ CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Airline travellers urged to practice good hygiene and stay at home if unwell
March 16, 2019. Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Airlines throughout Southern Africa are complying with stringent international and local health and safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, but we urge any passengers who are feeling unwell, displaying any respiratory illness symptoms, or who may have come into contact with a carrier of the Coronavirus, not to travel to airports or board flights,” said AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal. Read the press release here...
/ AASA profile
L COVID-19 April 2020
During April, AASA’s response to the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry (which will continue in the months ahead) was to take the following action on behalf of its members:
| L [WATCH] State of the local aviation sector|
Date 7 April 2020
Description AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, gave an interview to Business Day TV on the state of the local and international aviation sector.
| L [WATCH] Business Day TV/COVID-19: Turbulent times for airlines |
Date 17 April 2020
Description Business Day TV’s Michael Avery spoke to Elmar Conradie, CEO of Safair; Dr Joachim Vermooten, an independent transport economist; and Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) about the turbulent and challenging times for airlines.
| L China Global Television Network (CGTN) |
Date 14 April 2020
Description AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, gave an interview with China Global Television Network about the state and health of Southern African airlines during and after the pandemic.
| L AASA submits comments on behalf of the airline industry: Phased lifting of the lockdown |
Date 27 April 2020
Description AASA submitted comments on behalf of the airline industry on the Phased Lifting of the Lockdown, motivating for the inclusion and re-commencement of air services in South Africa under level 4.
| L Newzroom Africa TV |
Date 28 April 2020
Description AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, gave an interview with Newzroom Afrika about the state of the South African aviation industry.
| L South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) hosts Captains of Industry Meeting |
Date 29 April 2020
Description Captains of Industry Meeting. Key aviation industry stakeholders from the SACAA, AASA, BARSA, CAASA, ACSA, ATNS and Airline CEO's met to discuss the following:
| L SAfm 104 - 107 FM radio station |
Date 29 April 2020
Description Radio interview with SAfm 104 - 107 FM. AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, spoke to SAfm Radio about AASA writing to the South African Government asking for urgent government financial aid for the airline industry as a result of the devastating impact of the prohibition of air travel (as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country) on the industry.
| L Power 98.7 FM radio station |
Date 29 April 2020
Description Radio interview with Power 98.7 FM. AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, spoke to Power Radio about South Africa’s aviation industry being ‘on the verge of collapse’ and also about writing to the South African Government to ask for their urgent intervention in the airline industry.
L COVID-19 March 2020
During March, AASA’s response to the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry (which will continue in the months ahead) was to take the following action on behalf of its members:
/ South African Government Gazettes
/ South African Presidency: State of the Nation