Sustainability of aviation sector remains under threat, says AASA

LONDON – The Airlines Association of South Africa (AASA) has recently commented that the aviation industry’s sustainability, commercially, environmentally, socially, and financially, still remains under threat after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Remaining under threat

At the Aasa’s annual general assembly in the Western Cape, this one being the 52nd, the Aasa roadmap for the Aviation Industry contained Aasa’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aaron Munetsi, saying they had been pleading with South African governments for multiple years for close and secure cooperation.

Aasa CEO Aaron Munetsi said:- “Given what is at stake, now is the time for our governments to lower their drawbridges so that we can enhance our relationships for us to work together to reimagine policies and frameworks.”

“Instead of prescribing impediments and obstacles, these policies must be fit for purpose, enabling, and frictionless so that they promote efficiencies and drive growth and development”

According to the report from IOL, Aaron Munetsi further said, “this renewal must also help to mend and strengthen the social fabric and restore trust, which was torn when the industry and some of its members were targeted and severely damaged by the malfeasances witnessed across both public and private business sectors.”

Munetsi’s statements

Aaron Munetsi, Aasa’s CEO, has also stated the following:- “Most, if not all of them shed jobs temporarily or permanently in order to manage costs.”

“This resulted in institutional knowledge, advanced skills, and expertise being lost through retrenchments, retirements, and relocation.”

“At the same time, the demand for skills development, job creation, transformation, and environmental compliance are undiminished.”

“These all require significant investment at a time when rising interest rates are pushing up the cost of borrowing and finance while fuels and other inflationary pressures are tightly squeezing margins”

The Aasa has, over the last two years, called for the governments to provide relief (financially), to the airfare and tourism rates, as have the international airline associations.

Munetsi further comments, saying:- “As an industry, we have not been asking for bailouts or for governments to take short-term equity holdings in airlines.”

“What we have, and continue to call for, is relief through any of the arrays of instruments and mechanisms that rest in governments’ hands.”

The Covid-19 pandemic hit and rise on the industry

The Covid-19 pandemic, which we all faced since early 2020, set the entire aviation industry and the airline industry in jeopardy, and throughout the head year of Covid-19, 2020, we lost 34 airlines in total.

It’s no hidden fact that the industry was met with a major kick to the face when it all started. Aviation and airline staff worldwide were put on indefinite leave; airlines ceased operations, and the industry, in general, met an all-time low with little to sometimes no demand throughout the worst parts of the pandemic.

Though, as we’re still in a recently entered post-pandemic state, air travel and travel, in general, is showing great demand, and the summer season of 2022 was no exception as multiple countries opened their borders for tourists.”

With this, a result of a lack of airport baggage handlers and workers, travel chaos erupted at multiple airports, with some of the worst being – Amsterdam Schipol (AMS/EHAM) and London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL).

However, the industry is far from recovery and will take its time to revive properly.

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