Southern African airlines face losses and slow growth, says industry association

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The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has forecast that airlines in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region will suffer total losses of $300-million for this year. This would be in sharp contrast to the expected total profit of $33.8-billion for the global airline sector. However, the performance of the various individual airlines in the region would not be uniform. Regional demand for air transport was predicted to be only 2% to 3% a year over the next five years, because of weak gross domestic product growth in most SADC member countries. These forecasts were reported by the AASA on Friday, from Livingstone in Zambia, where it has been holding its 48th Annual General Meeting. The causes for the expected poor performance of the sector in SADC was attributed to rising costs, market turbulence and political uncertainty at the local, regional and world levels, which were adversely affecting trade, tourism and economic development. “Tourism, along with trade, is a powerful lever of growth. But they are being stunted by uncertainties,” highlighted AASA CEO Chris Zweigenthal. “As one of the most capital-intensive sectors and a vital enabler of economic activity, the airline industry needs Southern African governments to clarify their local economic reform policies so they do not spoil the appetite for much needed trade and investment in the region.”

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