March 27 2020
Much of the world is in full or partial lockdown due to COVID-19 and aviation is one of the most severely affected industries. With widespread travel bans and the imposition of temporary flight restrictions, many airlines and private operators are being forced to make tough decisions and pursue support. HADID is working with a number of these airlines and operators to minimise disruption, assisting with re-planning, re-routings, fuel optimisation and importantly, keeping clients abreast of ever-changing changing NOTAMS and ensuring they stay up-to-date with regulations and restrictions in various regions.
Active Flight Types
Despite the disruption, some flight types such as cargo, humanitarian, medical evacuation and repatriation flights remain active due to the vital roles they play in serving society. There is an increase in specialised operations such as MEDEVAC and chartered cargo flights.
HADID is actively engaged in fully supporting these flights, providing a comprehensive range of aviation services such as:
For HADID, cargo flights are an area of particular importance. As demand for the transport of medical supplies, personal protective equipment and foodstuffs increase, HADID is keen to help maintain supply chains wherever possible. For cargo operations specifically, Africa may provide some respite.
At present, air freight capacity is under significant downward pressure due to the evaporation of passenger flights. Recent data from Agility shows significant reductions in cargo belly capacity. Transatlantic flights are the worst hit, recording a drop of nearly 90 percent belly capacity between Europe and the US. This, amid lower fuel prices, is leading many airlines to shift away from passenger jet flights, deploying them for the purpose of transporting cargo.
Tapping into Africa’s Potential
According to the World Economic Forum, Africa has 731 airports and 419 airlines with an aviation industry that supports around 6.9 million jobs and $80 billion in economic activity. Africa could be a silver lining, especially in the case of air cargo, having shown resilience in the face of geopolitical crises in the recent past. Prior to the coronavirus, amid trade tensions between the US and China, the African air cargo market bucked the global trend in terms of growth. The perishable or special cargo space has proven especially lucrative, with increased demand from previously less-accessible markets.
Whilst Africa only accounts for less than 2 percent of global air cargo, the continent’s growth figures are nonetheless, promising. According the International Air Transport Association (IATA), of which HADID is a strategic partner, African carriers consistently posted the fastest growth figures for two years in the run up to 2020. Further promise comes from the fact that the African region, along with the Middle East, is ideally positioned as a connecting medium for products and services traveling both eastward or westward. This provides additional potential for cargo operators to provide services.
As Africa continues to make strides towards digital transformation and air space liberalization, it is becoming increasingly attractive to investors. At the same time, Africa remains a cost-effective alternative to other markets. As transport is disrupted globally, some companies are adapting supply chain strategies, shifting manufacturing operations to Africa.
Opportunities Amidst Challenges
Research published by Barrons suggests it could take some airlines more than a year to recover from the impact of COVID-19. Africa is an alternative market with strong trade linkages to Asia and the Middle East and has the potential for a swift economic recovery. Whilst Africa is not immune, the continent presents substantial opportunities with ample resources and booming sectors. However, there remain significant challenges for African aviation, barriers which countries and organisations across Africa have been taking diligent strides to overcome in recent years. The major barriers for African aviation include the pendent liberalisation of African airspace, poor connectivity and outdated infrastructure. Such barriers present a variety of operational complexities which have been a focus for HADID flight support services since the company’s establishment in 1981. With nearly four decades experience on the African continent, HADID has long standing relationships and local teams on-ground to mitigate operational complexities for all flight types and categories.
HADID proudly serves a wide range of flight types both across the African continent and beyond. Our local teams on-ground support cargo, humanitarian, medical evacuation and repatriation flights as well as governmental flights to facilitate smooth operations.
In the current climate, country specific regulations continue to change at a rapid pace. HADID has up-to-date information on travel restrictions, procedures and policies along with NOTAMS and weather data. Our 24/7 Operations, International Flight Planning and teams on-ground are available to support your requirements wherever you are.
Contact us at any time, obligation free:
Phone (HQ Dubai): +971 4 205 3000
Fax (HQ Dubai): +971 4 205 3030