AFRAA estimates that the loss of revenues by African airlines for the year 2020 due to the pandemic stands at US$10.21 billion. The safe re-opening of borders by governments and relaxation of travel restrictions is necessary to stimulate the much needed demand for the resumption of air travel.
The infographic can be downloaded from this link: https://afraa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Actions-for-Safe-and-Efficient-re-Opening-of-Borders.pdf
The following actions are key for the safe and efficient re-opening of Borders:
- Harmonisation of health security protocols
Systematic testing, harmonization of health security protocols, mutual recognition across countries and streamlining of health screening processes is necessary to enhance passenger experience.
- The harmonization should include the validity period of the negative certificate.
- The validity period selected should be reasonable.
States should remain vigilant to all applicable regulations, laws, guidelines, and standards issued by national and international authorities aiming at minimizing infection and maintaining a safe public health corridor during travel.
2. Reduction of high PCR test costs in Africa
The PCR test costs are very high in some African states. 11 African States charge between US$ 50-100 while 7 others charge above US$ 100. AFRAA’s call to governments is for the reduction of the high cost of testing fees.
AFRAA commends the harmonised ECOWAS Protocol for cross border movement of persons and goods during the pandemic and capping of the cost of PCR test for ECOWAS nationals at a maximum of US$50. We call upon the ECOWAS States to implement this reduction. We further call for the extension of the cost reduction to non-ECOWAS travellers.
Ghana for instance, has reduced the fees from USD$150 to USD$50 for ECOWAS nationals but the fee for non-ECOWAS nationals remains at USD$150.
Vaccination will mitigate the greatest risks. However, until when there is satisfactory access to the vaccine, reasonable vaccination coverage and sufficient evidence and guidance on the use of the vaccine is available, AFRAA and industry stakeholders is calling for States not to impose the vaccination as a mandatory pre-entry and exit criteria for travel.
On the shipment of vaccines to and within Africa, AFRAA appeals for the prioritization of African carriers with capacity for transportation, storage and distribution of the vaccine.
More information on AFRAA actions and initiatives is available on AFRAA website: https://afraa.org/corona_news/