Ethiopian Airlines, which is Africa’s largest carrier, revealed that it has no plans to cancel its flights to China.
Chief executive at Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam said stopping flights to China is not a solution to fight coronavirus epidemic.
He told the media, “Flying direct to China doesn’t mean we will stop novel coronavirus, because passengers from China can travel to African countries including Ethiopia through various other hubs. That’s what the interconnected world means.”
“As per the directive of the World Health Organisation (WHO), stopping flights isn’t the answer. Isolating China because it has novel coronavirus outbreak isn’t fair.”
He further revealed that Ethiopian Airlines has seen a 20 percent decline in demand since the coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China.
Even though the Covid-19 epidemic is not so widespread in Africa, many airlines in the continent such as South African Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Air Tanzania, Air Mauritius, EgyptAir, RwandAir and Kenya Airways have suspended flights to and from China.
Recently, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that airlines in Africa could suffer revenue losses of around $40 million due to the coronavirus outbreak.
So far, coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, and Senegal.
The IATA also revealed that the global aviation industry could see revenue losses of around $29 billion in 2020, which is a 4.7 percent industry-wide drop in revenue per passenger kilometer. A major portion of the losses will be suffered by airlines operating in China and another Southeast Asian region.
Airlines in the Middle East are also expected to suffer losses of around $49 billion due to the coronavirus outbreak.