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Covid-19: Afghan airlines incur millions of dollars loss

22 Oct 2020 - 05:58
22 Oct 2020 - 05:58

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) and some airlines suffered millions of dollars loss due to curbs imposed after the outbreak of Coronavirus nation-wide and worldwide.

The pandemic caused $40 million loss to ACAA, $22.5 million to Ariana Afghan Airline (AAA) and at least $13 million loss to Kam Air.

The AAA cut 30 percent salaries of most of its employees while Kam Air dismissed some of its employees due financial crisis caused by the pandemic.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.

The ACAA said 11 international airlines conducted flights to Kabul while two Afghan based airline companies — AAA, Kam Air –conducted flights to 25 destinations world-wide.

ACAA Spokesperson Mohammad Naeem Salehi said after the outbreak of coronavirus, international flights were gradually reduced and on June 13 international airlines stopped flights to Afghanistan.

After the peak of pandemic, some foreign airlines — Turkish, Emirates, Fly Dubai — gradually started flights to Afghanistan while the remaining seven are yet to resume flights.

He said in line with presidential decree, domestic flights were also grounded after April 21 but after June 17 domestic flights were resumed on the basis of another presidential decree.

The ACAA sufferred $40 million in losses as a result of curbs imposed due to the outbreak of coronavirus:

There was decline in flights using Afghanistan’s airspace and in addition foreign flights that paid fees for using airports stopped flights to Kabul and due to these two factors, the revneue declined. 

Earlier, the ACAA said every foreign flight using Afghanistan’s airspace paid $700. And the country collected nearly $70,000 in 24 hours from airspace fee.

 AAA suffered $22.5 million losses:

Alam Shah Ibrahimi, head of the AAA, said the airline suffered $22.5 million losses in nine months due to curbs imposed after the outbreak of coronavirus.

He said the AAA had been expecting $55.2 million revenue in nine months but the airline fell short of the target after flights to India, China, Moscow, Riyadh, Istanbul and Ankara stopped.

He said the airline had so far collected $32.7 million revenue this year while last year revenue in the corresponding period was 44.8 million.

“Another reason behind the declined revenue was spending money on purchasing sanitizers, masks and gloves while shifting home stranded Afghans in foreign countries,” he said.

30pc cut in salary of most employees:

According to Ibrahimi, the Ariana Afghan Airline (AAA) has fired its 650 full-time and part-time employees and has cut salaries of most of its employees by 30 percent after losing revenue.

According to him, salaries of the employees, who run services, have not been cut because they are less-paid workers.

“Currently we are out of the losses. We cover our expenses as much as we receive income, with resumption of cargo flights, our situation has improved,” he explained.

Ibrahimi said: “Though the government is aware of the airline’s losses, yet it has not provided it any assistance and now Ariana is in talks with the Ministry of Finance to pay the taxes in installments. If the government does not cooperate, some of the company’s employees will be unemployed and a social problem will arise.”

Shamroz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the MoF, said the ministry had not yet made a decision.

According to the head of AAA, following losses, the airline was forced to cut some other costs such as lunch, transportation and credit card payments.

Kam Air’s millions of losses:

Suleiman Omar, commercial director of the Kam Air private airline, told the media on April 26 that before the outbreak of Covid-19, the airlines had 119 flights a week –— 80 domestic and the rest international —- but the flights dropped by 90 percent a week due to the spread of coronavirus.

As a result, he said, Kam Air had suffered more than $13 million loss.

Pajhwok asked the company to provide an update on losses it suffered because of the Covid-19, but Kam Air media office head Najib Paiman said on Tuesday that they could not provide information due to economic procedure.

But Paiman added that after two months, all Kam Air flights resumed and the firm returned to its normal position.

Unpaid leaves for some Kam Air employees:

Suleiman Omar said in April that Kam Air had 1,030 employees, including 50 foreigners, but the company sent 70 percent of them on leaves without pay due to Covid-19.

Without elaborating, NajibullahPaiman said with increase in the number of flights, more employees had returned to work.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has previously said that airlines would face billions of dollars losses in many parts of the world due to coronavirus.

This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.

Nh/sa/ma

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