African airlines improved performance in February 2021, with cargo volumes growing 4.6 percent and passenger traffic up by 69.5 percent, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says in its data for February 2022.
Performance increased 8.2 percent in capacity deployed, well above the 2.9 percent global average.
Airlines tapped into a rapid rebound in manufacturing, spurred by the progressive relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. Global capacity was up 12.5 percent for 2021, although capacity was 5.6 percent below February 2019 levels.
IATA says while consumer price inflation in G7 economies rose 6.3 percent during the period under review, the likely impact on purchasing power was dampened by higher savings accumulated by consumers during the pandemic lockdowns.
However, the industry still faces uncertainty from China’s zero-Covid policy that has disrupted the supply chain as a result of flight cancellations and labour shortages.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had limited effect on February’s performance because it came towards the end of the month. IATA expects the ripple effects of the conflict and the related sanctions to become more discernible from March.
“Sanction-related shifts in manufacturing and economic activity, rising oil prices and geopolitical uncertainty will take their toll on air cargo’s performance,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.
African passenger traffic rose 69.5 percent relative to February 2021 on 34.7 percent growth in capacity.
The load factor also increased 12.9 percentage points to 63 percent. Despite the improvement, combined domestic, regional and long-haul passenger traffic to, from and within Africa at the end of February 2022 was 52 percent lower than February 2019 levels.