Africa’s Regional Director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Mrs. Funke Adeyemi, has said Nigeria’s aviation sector suffered a loss of $700million amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Adeyemi, who disclosed this during a webinar, titled, ‘A National Conversation: Mapping Nigeria’s Response to COVID-19’ yesterday, added that over 90,000 jobs are at risk in the nation’s air travel sector.
Describing the aviation is one of the hardest-hit sectors across the globe, she said; “Over the past three months, passenger travel reduced by 90 percent. That led to a loss of $28.5billion in GDP for Africa and put about three million jobs at risk. For Nigeria, the loss was colossal as the industry suffered over $700million loss and about 90,000 jobs at risk across the entire value chain of aviation.”
Adeyemi, however, thanked the governments of the world for the introduction of the lockdown as the aviation sector could have accelerated the spread of the pandemic. She also noted that the sector had been very supportive of the fight against COVID-19.
“Aviation continues to maintain its critical role as it is not just a means of transportation. It is actually an economic business, which has equally supported the fight against COVID-19,” she posited.
Adeyemi revealed that IATA and other international bodies had reviewed more ways to make air travel safer for passengers amid the pandemic.
“What the United Nations, IATA and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have come up with is a series of biosecurity temporary measures. It would look at the entire end-to-end passenger journey, right from pre-flight where we can collect passenger data and health declaration forms through established platforms, to travel procedures at the airports, and temperature checks.”
According to her, this woulf ensure there is physical distancing during boarding, while the use of face masks in-flight as well as the filtering system on the aircraft would be introduced.
Adeyemi also opined that robust collaboration between health authorities and the aviation sector would be crucial to the resumption of flight activities.
“This collaboration would really help our ability to restart the economy. We have collaborated with the World Health Organisation and others to create globally accepted standards,” she noted.