Regional airline, Bluebird Aviation has today projected the aviation sector could start picking up towards the last half of the year 2021.
BlueBird Aviation General Manager, Captain Hussein Mohammed said while the pandemic has caused a total disruption in the aviation industry like in the overall economy, there is a ray of hope for the aviation sector with the planned roll out of COVID-19 Vaccines.
He said flights capacity has remained less than 50 per cent for all airlines across, local, regional and international markets since the outbreak of coronavirus.
“Is it coming back? Yes it is coming back slowly, but a bit too slowly. By now it should be more than 50 per cent capacity. We hope that with Vaccination coming, the industry will start picking up in the last half of the year,” said Captain Mohammed.
A national traveller readiness surveys 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 per cent of travellers are willing and ready to start to travel again domestically compared to 34 per cent regionally and 25 per cent internationally.
However, the survey also indicated that majority of the respondents are extremely concerned with being quarantined at the destination (76 per cent) followed by contracting COVID-19 (61 per cent).
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 embarked on strategic marketing 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.