The air cargo sector in Africa is reeling from the impact from COVID 19 with Africa-to Europe cargo traffic now down 70% year-on-year, causing the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) to call for industry and governments in the region to take action.

“We are encouraging African airlines to respond to capacity requirements immediately, in particular by putting Passenger Freighter systems in place, such as those implemented by airlines including Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, SAA and Rwandair,” said Sanjeev Gadhia, TIACA vice chairman and chief executive of Astral Aviation. “Collaboration and cooperation between African airlines across their respective fleets and networks are both essential so we can overcome the challenges we are facing,” he added.

According to Gadhia, a concrete example is the drop in capacity has resulted in a capacity crisis in Nairobi for its perishables exports to Europe from 5,000 tons to 1,800 tons per week, which will have disastrous effects on the agriculture sector in Kenya, which is yet to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

TIACA is calling on the African air cargo sector to formulate a recovery plan that will enable it to sustain the shocks of the Pandemic which will require a collaborative strategy between the Airlines, Airports, Handlers, Forwarders and Shippers.

TIACA also calls on African governments and on civil aviation authorities (CAAs) to take immediate measures to support the aviation sector.

TIACA’s six point plan includes measures related to; airport closures due to lockdown, closure or curfew measures, quarantining of crews in certain African airports and the need to standardize crew quarantine requirements, including by providing dedicated rest areas, lifting the night bans affecting the move of ground staff, restrictions and limitations on cargo flights in certain African countries, simplifying procedures and easing the clearance for goods like pharma and food and fumigation requirements put in place in multiple African countries.