While “a crisis like no other” (in the words of the International Monetary Fund) rages, it is important to identify and highlight the sectors of the aviation, tourism and travel retail business that are beginning more rapidly to recover.
In this column, we bring you regular updates about how airports, airlines, travel retailers and brands are investing in that recovery, and how various stakeholders are shaping up for the new normal. Please send your contributions to Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com.
“Every opening is a victory and should be celebrated as such” – Martin Moodie
“COVID-19 has decimated air travel and incapacitated one of our lungs, but the Singapore heart – our determination, dynamism and enterprise – is still pumping strong. Changi Airport will one day be full again, SIA planes will once again soar. This is our collective mission in the coming months and years ahead.” – Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung
Positive news out of the UAE as local media Gulf News reports that passenger capacity on UAE airlines is now at 40-50%-plus as the carriers restore more routes.
Gulf News said that booking enquiries had “shot up” after the UAE authorities said that an approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) will no longer be required for residents returning to the country. Additionally, the report said, Dubai is seeing benefits from allowing foreign visitors from 7 July onwards.
There is demand for flight seats to “every country from every country”, Mohammed Shah, Manager at Dubai-based Regal Tours, told Gulf News. “The kind of business I had in recent weeks, I haven’t had in years.”
“We are seeing it for all the flights,” added Javed Siddiqui, Branch Manager at Al Rais Travel. “Emirates and Etihad flights headed to Australia are packed as they are the only two airlines serving the region, while India-bound flights, operating under pacts with the government, are gaining momentum. A lot of people have been calling.”
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O.R. Tambo International Airport is welcoming back domestic passengers after the South African government activated lockdown Level 2 COVID-19 status. It opens up travel through the airport for the first time since the end of March.
Level 2 status means that travel has ‘safe’ status and people only have to adhere to minimal social distancing. It also means restaurants, bars and pubs can re-open. The airport did however stress that extensive health and safety measures are in operation and there is rigorous monitoring of compliance with regulations in place.
O.R. Tambo International Airport General Manager Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana said: “The entire airport community is preparing to welcome more passengers as people start to make bookings for leisure travel.
“The opening up of domestic air travel will have a positive impact on not only the airport but also the entire aviation sector. As with business air travel, we anticipate a gradual increase in demand at first.”
Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) is reconnecting Bengaluru to 14 international destinations.
13 airlines will operate international flights under Air Bubble, Vande Bharat Mission and Repatriation programmes
The destinations connected directly from BLR Airport include Abu Dhabi (Etihad, GoAir & Air India Express), Amsterdam (KLM Royal Dutch), Dubai (Emirates, Indigo, GoAir, Air India Express & Vistara), Doha (Indigo & Qatar Airways), Frankfurt (Lufthansa), Kuwait (Air India & Indigo), Kuala Lumpur (Air India Express & Malaysian Airlines), London (Air India & British Airways), Muscat (Air India Express), Narita (Air India), Paris (KLM Royal Dutch), Riyadh (Indigo) and Singapore (Air India Express). BLR Airport will connect to San Francisco via Kochi (Air India).
From London Luton Airport Head Of Commercial Development Mark Jennings comes this image of Frankie & Benny’s – a key F&B offer at the airport – swinging back into business.
“Congratulations to the team at TRG for the pace and professionalism in reopening Frankie & Benny’s this morning,” writes Mark on LinkedIn.
“Slow and steady improvement”. That’s how Greater Orlando Aviation Authority described its latest passenger traffic figures amid evidence of an encouraging uptick in demand.
Passenger numbers at Orlando International Airport in June were down -79.5% year-on-year but the more relevant indicator in the COVID-19 recovery context is the month-on-month comparison, up 12 points from May’s negative -91.5%.
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Chief Executive Officer Phil Brown said, “As we monitor the gradual increase in traffic volumes we are cautiously optimistic that the public is more confident travelling to Orlando and realises the extent to which we are providing a safe and healthy environment for their benefit.”
For entries before 18 August click here.