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Airlines: Ethiopian and Airlink may be Africa’s post-pandemic winners

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Tuesday, 2 March 2021 15:34

An Ethiopian Airlines Airbus 350-900. © Fabrizio Gandolfo / SOPA Images / Sipa

Ethiopian Airlines and South Africa’s Airlink are well positioned to emerge as African industry winners from the Covid-19 pandemic, analysts say.

The outlook for South African Airways (SAA) and Air Mauritius, meanwhile, is bleak.

No African airline will emerge from the pandemic unscathed, says Indigo Ellis, associate director at Africa Matters in London. Passenger numbers are less than half their pre-2020 levels, and industry losses to January 2021 are estimated at more than $10.5bn. This, Ellis notes, is despite a return to relative normalcy in some domestic markets over the past three months.

Travel restrictions to the UK and the US for most arrivals from Southern Africa mean the picture is “bleak” for many carriers, with limited prospects for government bailouts, says Ellis.