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
Qatar Airways will operate four weekly flights to Accra, Ghana via Lagos from 29 September 2020, Accra becomes the fourth new destination launched by the national carrier of the State of Qatar since the start of the pandemic.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to be launching flights to the capital of Ghana, one of the fastest growing economies in the region famed for its local hospitality and highly sought after agricultural exports. We first announced our intention to launch flights to Accra in January 2020 and while the pandemic has slightly delayed these plans, it has not stopped us from fulfilling our commitment to passengers in Ghana and around the world.
“With the strong Ghanaian diaspora especially in Europe, the UK and US we are thankful to the Ghanaian Government for their support in helping us to launch these flights providing an opportunity to reunite family and friends with their loved ones. We look forward to working closely with our partners in Ghana to steadily grow this route and support the recovery of tourism and trade in the region.”
By mid-October, Qatar Airways will operate 46 weekly flights to 14 destinations in Africa, including Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Entebbe, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Lagos, Mogadishu, Nairobi, Seychelles, Tunis, Windhoek and Zanzibar.
In a boost to many US airports (and their business partners) the US government is easing restrictions on many arriving international travellers from today. Authorities have removed the requirement for flights carrying passengers from certain states to land at one of 15 designated airports. Since March, these have included those from, or with a recent presence in, China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen region of Europe, the UK, Ireland and Brazil. These travellers were also subject to enhanced entry health screening.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said: “The new, more effective strategy focuses on the continuum of travel and the individual passenger, including pre-departure and post-arrival education, efforts to develop a potential testing framework with international partners, and illness response. This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more effectively protects the health of the American public.”
The moves means that international flights can resume to and from many airports. Philadelphia International – which was not named as a “funnelling airport” in March – is among those that can now restart transatlantic traffic.
Airport CEO Chellie Cameron said: “Pre-COVID-19, the international transatlantic travel demand that passed through the airport generated approximately US$2 billion to the local economy per year. We know that it will take some time to reach that amount again, but American Airlines has committed to restoring PHL as its transatlantic hub and our foreign flag airline partners want a pathway to resume flights.
“PHL and its stakeholders are facing multimillion dollar budget deficits due to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry. Funnelling status alone does not solve our financial troubles and further relief funding for the airport is still a necessity. However, being able to accept international flights will help us recover faster and may save jobs that were on the verge of elimination.”
Xi’an Airport continued to lead recovery within the Fraport Group portfolio of airports in August. The Chinese airport served 3.6 million passengers, down by -18.7% year-on-year but a performance that underlined the rebound in Chinese domestic traffic over recent months. As passenger traffic in Russia has picked up, St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport recovered to post a deficit of -31.4% year-on-year to 1.5 million in August.
Fraport Group’s home airport, Frankfurt, served 1.5 million travellers, down by -78.2% on…