Qatar Airways increases African routes as Emirates restarts flights to Luanda

AFRICA – Qatar Airways is to resume services to Entebbe, Seychelles and Windhoek as well as many more global destinations.

Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are proud to be the leading global airline connecting passengers with the world, helping take people safely and sustainably to where they need to be. Having one of the youngest, most fuel-efficient fleets enables us to be agile and respond quickly to passenger demand. Our focus throughout the rebuild of our network is not only on restarting destinations but also operating as many frequencies as possible to provide our passengers the flexibility to travel when they want,” he said.

“By continuing to fly during the pandemic while others stopped, we have gained the trust of passengers as an airline they can rely on. We have taken more international passengers home than any other airline during this pandemic and as entry restrictions ease, we remain focused on our fundamental mission of carrying passengers across the globe safely and reliably. There are still millions of people who have not been able to be reunited with their friends and families and it is heart-warming to know our growing network will provide them an opportunity to travel home or take a trip to see loved ones,” he added.

Similarly, Emirates has restarted its flights to Luanda, Angola from October1 as it aims to expand its African network to 15 destinations.

As airlines restart their operations to various destinations across the globe, International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments in Africa and Middle East (AME) to implement testing for COVID-19 as an alternative to quarantine measures when re-opening their economies as mandatory quarantine measures stop people form travelling.

According to IATA, thirty-five countries in Africa and the Middle East have government-imposed quarantine measures in place, an increase of seven countries since August.

The impact is that the region effectively remains in lockdown despite borders being open.

 Recent public opinion research showed that 88% of travellers would not even consider travelling if quarantine measures were imposed on travellers at their destination.

Quarantines, closed borders and travel restrictions continue to decimate travel demand in Africa and the Middle East.

 Traffic levels in Africa and the Middle East saw the largest drop of all regions in July compared to 2019 levels.

Total passenger traffic in Africa in July 2020 was 93.7% below 2019 levels and in the Middle East 95.5% below 2019 levels according to IATA.

Aviation supported more than 6.2 million jobs and $56 billion in GDP in Africa pre-COVID-19.

The economic impact of the collapse in air traffic in 2020 due to COVID-19 could be 3.5 million lost jobs and $35 billion in GDP in Africa.

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