Regional carrier, Bluebird Aviation has projected the aviation sector could start picking up towards the end of the second half of the year 2021.
BlueBird Aviation General Manager, Captain Hussein Mohammed has said while the pandemic has caused a total disruption in the air transport sector as it has been to the overall economy, there is a ray of hope for the industry with the planned roll out of COVID-19 Vaccines.
Following the surge in CoronaVirus cases, flight capacity has remained less than 50 per cent for all airlines across, local, regional and international markets since the outbreak of the disease in December 2019.
However, Captain Mohammed is optimistic of a strong comeback even though he remains says it might be slower than expected.
“We hope that with the vaccination (programme) coming, the industry will start picking up in the last half of the year,” said Capt. Mohammed.
A national traveler readiness survey since the start of the global pandemic, commissioned by The National Tourism Crisis Steering Committee, the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) released early February 2020 shows 65 percent of travelers are willing and ready to start to travel again domestically compared to 34 percent regionally and 25 percent internationally.
However, the survey also indicated that the majority of the respondents are extremely concerned with being quarantined at the destination (76 percent) followed by contracting COVID-19 (61 percent).
Captain Mohammed said travellers’ confidence to start travelling again could be best addressed through introduction of a vaccination ‘passport’ to address the underlying concerns.
“I foresee a situation whereby we may require a COVID-19 Vaccination Passport for the travelling public to ensure they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or a form of authentication confirming vaccination. Until we get there, I don’t see the industry recovering for the long-haul,” he said.
To stay afloat, BlueBird Aviation has embarked on strategic marketing campaign with prospective clients, reducing flight charter costs and harmonisation of salaries.
“To keep our heads above water we have been going to talk to clients one on one and reducing charter cost pricing. I am happy to report that so far we have not laid off any staff. We have taken salary reductions. Our objective is to ensure we remain afloat for the longer term because we see this continuing for the better part of next year as we look for the industry to recover,” said Captain Mohammed.