African Airlines have lost $400m (£312m) since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China in February, according to the global airline industry body.
The epidemic is not as widespread in Africa as in other continents, but it has led airlines like South African Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Air Tanzania, Air Mauritius, EgyptAir, RwandAir and Kenya Airways to suspend flights to and from China.
The continent’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, is still operating flights to and from five cities in China.
Vice-President of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Raphael Kuuchi, told the BBC that the losses in the continent’s aviation industry had so far come from suspended and cancelled flights on routes to China.
He said the impact of the virus is bound to get worse for African airlines – which last year posted losses of $100m (£78m).
So far, cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria and Senegal.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that countries with poor healthcare systems may not be able to cope with an outbreak, with many in Africa being of particular concern.