Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the latter part of 2019, the impact of the disease has been very severe as almost every sector has had its share of the ravaging virus.
But one of the sectors that suffered a huge hit was the aviation sector.
This was due to the imposition of travel restrictions and suspension of flights in a global effort to contain the spread of the virus.
But in Ghana, the Kotoka International Airport was opened to international flights on September 1, 2020; weeks after domestic flights were permitted to operate. Despite this, the airlines still face some challenges.
As part of efforts to revive the sector, some international airlines operating in the Ghana have started introducing innovative strategies to attract travelers and increase customer confidence after five months of inactivity.
Marketing Executive with Brussels Airlines, Maame Asatewaa Okyere, told Citi Business News that although Brussels Airlines reported a loss of about 180 million euros in the first six months of 2020, the company is taking drastic top control measures to recover.
“The turnaround program, Reboot Plus, which was already planned before the Coronavirus crisis hit, is now being further intensified as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. With Reboot Plus, Brussels Airlines is structurally tackling its course structure in optimizing its network by cutting marginally profitable and unprofitable rules, resulting in fleet reduction of 30%. Brussels airlines therefore needs to reduce its overall cost to increase efficiency and productivity.”
To reach its target of increased competitiveness and structural profitability, she added that, “we are taking several measures including negotiations to reduce our fleet size, cost reduction through supplier negotiation, simplification and automation of processes, increase of efficiency at the level of operations and product aligning with the Lufthansa Group network airlines”.
For KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Country Manager, Dick Van Nieuwenhuyzen, stated that, “the most important thing is to gain the confidence of the passenger. Already passengers are limited to travel, so we want to ensure that they travel in a safe way. If you fly 5 times a week, we give you one day for free. Previously, if you want to cancel or change your ticket, you will be asked to you pay a penalty or pay a charge, but now, we don’t charge anything if you want to change or cancel your flight.”
In the face of all of these, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has warned that the world’s airlines will still lose cash at a rate of around $300,000 per minute or $13 billion per month, which could force a large chunk of the industry into bankruptcy within months – even if a Covid-19 vaccine is discovered.