Flags featuring the International Air Transport Association (IATA) logo fly above the venue of their symposium in Dublin, Ireland, on Wednesday June 2, 2016. IATA, which represents 260 airlines accounting for 83 of global air traffic, revealed Monday that global passenger traffic grew only 4.6 percent in April — the slowest pace since January 2015. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CAPE TOWN, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Africa’s airline industry could return to profit at the end of 2024, although the southern African region is lagging compared to the rest of the continent, a senior IATA official said on Friday.

Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, said southern Africa was lagging behind in the recovery due to market access and connectivity issues.

“IATA’s current outlook sees the global loss reduced to $9.7 billion for 2022 and a return to industry-wide profit in 2023. Africa is on track to follow by the end of 2024,” Alawadhi told delegates at the Airlines Association of Southern Africa annual general assembly.

The association holds its annual general assembly where company executives and airline agencies take stock of the industry as it looks to bounce back from the pandemic but faces regulatory uncertainty and higher fuel prices linked to the war in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by James Macharia Chege)