By Daniel Itai, Ekhurhuleni, South Africa
With the country finally allowing international travel from the 1st of October 2020, some members of the aviation sector have expressed mixed feelings.
Most of the country’s airlines such as Mango, Comair, FlySafair and Kulula.com have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 restrictions.
“We started operating on the 17th of June it was tough because then it was only business travel but with the introduction of leisure travel it’s now better but it’s basically going to take us maybe an additional three months to get to that financial position we were prior to the lockdown. International travel will definitely take a long time to recover than domestic travel,” said Elmar Conradie, CEO of FlySafair.
CEO of Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA), Zuks Ramasia, also lamented on the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.
“The impact is dire. However, we now need to look at the restrictions that have been imposed such as quarantining and the curfew.
We need to adhere to the regulations so we just have to make sure everyone is well braced with the World Health Organization’s standards,” said the BARSA CEO.
Aviation expert, Linden Burns, also projected the economic impacts the COVID-19 restrictions have since made.
“We have 16.6 million fewer people flying. People have lost jobs. R100 billion has been lost which was supposed to contribute to the GDP.
Moreover, we need to have a clearer mandate from the government because we don’t want to be taken one step forward and 16 steps backwards.
The economic survey that has been done by IATA has indicated that it will take around three years for the aviation industry to recover to that 2019 level that is if we are not going to experience a second wave of the pandemic.
However, the civil aviation and the airports are ready it’s now up to the COVID-19 regulatory framework,” said Burns.