The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has projected 20 per cent drop in revenues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

So far airlines are said to have experienced some 15-20 per cent decline in their passenger numbers which is expected to impact passenger charges at the airport.

The Director-General of the GCAA Engineer Simon Allotey said, “Revenue for the airline industry is mainly based on aircraft movement and passenger travels. Airport Company largely depends on airport passenger service charge, Civil Aviation and Airport company also depend on landing fees and thus when there is less landing there is less revenue.”

He added, “We also depend on overflight fees and that has also taken a hit and so, for now, we can say there is a general 20 per cent dip in revenues and this could get worse or improve depending on the situation moving forward.” 

To mitigate the impact the Director-General explained cost-cutting measures are being undertaken.

He said “What we need to do in the aviation industry is to sit down and take measures to reduce operational cost. Certain projects which are not critical could be put on hold. We also need to look at staff cost and expenses, for example, we’ve already banned staff travels and there is a further stringent measure we will take to minimize expenses.”  

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) now sees 2020 global revenue losses for the passenger business of between $63 billion (in a scenario where COVID-19 is contained in current markets with over 100 cases as of 2 March) and $113 billion (in a scenario with a broader spreading of COVID-19). 

No estimates are yet available for the impact on cargo operations.

IATA’s previous analysis (issued on 20 February 2020) put lost revenues at $29.3 billion based on a scenario that would see the impact of COVID-19 largely confined to markets associated with China. 

Since that time, the virus has spread to over 80 countries and forward bookings have been severely impacted on routes beyond China.

Financial markets have reacted strongly. Airline share prices have fallen nearly 25% since the outbreak began, some 21 percentage points greater than the decline that occurred at a similar point during the SARS crisis of 2003.