TIACA: African air cargo sector faces capacity shortage

By Damian Brett

Sanjeev Gadhia, TIACA vice chairman and chief executive of Astral Aviation

TIACA has raised its concern that the air cargo sector in Africa could be hit with a capacity shortage on European operations.

The organisation, quoting figures from CLIVE Data Services, said that there had been a 70% drop in cargo capacity to Europe compared with a year earlier.

TIACA said it is concerned that the lack of capacity could affect the supply of basic necessities and essential medical equipment, the situation is very concerning on the continent.

Sanjeev Gadhia, TIACA vice chairman and chief executive of Astral Aviation, said: “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.

“Collaboration and cooperation between African airlines across their respective fleets and networks are both essential so we can overcome the challenges we are facing.”

Gadhia said the capacity shortage has already resulted in Nairobi’s perishables exports to Europe falling from 5,000 tons to 1,800 tons per week.

This will have a “disastrous effects on the agriculture sector in Kenya, which is yet to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic”, TIACA said.

TIACA called on airlines, airports, handlers, forwarders and shippers to formulate a recovery plan.

TIACA also calls on African governments and on civil aviation authorities (CAAs) to take immediate measures to support the Aviation sector and the economy, by cushioning them against the impact of the Pandemic and in particular:

  • 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;
  • Fumigation requirements put in place in multiple African countries.
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