L    AASA news / 2020

  L  Unnecessary restrictions and lack of support for air transport industry will prolong Southern Africa's economic recovery      
October 8, 2020. AASA news release

  • Air travel can be safe without arbitrary prohibitions on travellers from classified countries
  • Jobs and Southern Africa’s economic recovery are in jeopardy
  • Survival and recovery requires governments and industry to engage directly at highest levels

Southern Africa’s economic recovery and future growth, along with nearly five million jobs in the region are in jeopardy as a result of the continued imposition of inconsistent and arbitrary restrictions on air travel, warns the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).

    At the same time, AASA called for the region’s governments to prioritise support for their entire air transport and tourism industries, including private and public sector airlines, airports, air navigation services, ground handlers, safety regulators, suppliers and allied businesses.

    “Not a single aviation industry stakeholder has been spared. Every organisation relying on revenue for airline operations and passengers is affected, with traumatic social and financial consequences. Governments can and must provide support to the entire industry as the recovery of their economies is heavily dependent upon it,” explained AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, who was addressing the body’s virtual 50th annual general meeting today. Read the full news release...

  L  SA tourism sector cautiously hopeful as borders set to reopen      
September 17, 2020. Wendell Roelf for Reuters

South Africa's pandemic-battered tourism sector on Thursday welcomed a government decision to allow international travel from October 1 but officials worried restrictions on key markets facing high infection rates could curtail any recovery.
    The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) said authorities should move to accommodate business and leisure travellers and remove barriers to entry such as visas and quarantine...Read the original article...

  L  [Interview] Borders need to open as soon as possible – AASA      
September 16, 2020.  Nompu Siziba interviews tourism specialist Gillian Saunders

Expectations for the tourism industry ahead of the President’s national address

NS: South Africa is ready, travel ready collective. It’s hosting a discussion with the Airline Association of Southern Africa and other aviation players, including Ethiopian airlines and Etihad. And they’re basically calling for our international borders to be opened up, to get that much-needed inbound tourism coming in. So, what are the key themes that are being discussed there?

GS: Well, I think key is that we need to open up all of our international borders. It’s not worth doing it in a phased approach. And, when we look at that, there’s no reason from a pandemic or public health perspective to treat somebody from Botswana or somebody from Kenya differently from anybody from Germany, the UK or China. So it’s really about, if the country would like to, looking at perhaps very high-risk countries and putting different protocols in place, such as quarantine for a very high-risk countries, Covid testing for medium–risk countries, and no protocols specifically in terms of ability to come across our borders and get to South Africa, for people from low-risk countries. Read or listen to the interview...

  L  AASA/TBCSA call for opening up of international borders      
September 9, 2020.  Heidi Gibson for World Airnews

Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO, has today joined the call by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) to open up the country’s borders to international travel. The recently announced 51% decline in South Africa’s GDP during Q2 has highlighted the need for swift measures to aid South Africa’s ailing economy and the tourism and aviation sectors are among those sectors hardest hit. 
    Conversely, these two sectors also have the greatest potential to stimulate inclusive economic growth and employment. "International tourism can reopen safely, but it requires an enabling environment, which includes the reopening of international borders, and improved visa regime, air access and better safety for tourists. Tourism can be South Africa’s economic lifeline, but only if international borders are opened up soon. We are appealing to the Government to safely open our borders. Our industry is ready; our source markets are waiting to travel, so let’s save jobs and the economy." said Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, TBCSA CEO. 
    Chris Zweigenthal, who serves as a director on the board of TBCSA, told World Airnews that AASA is wholeheartedly supporting this call as operationally the airlines and airports will be ready when the authority is given to open the borders...Read more...

In brief 

  L  Comair CEO Wrenelle Stander appointed as chairperson of AASA      
October 13, 2020. Logistics Update Africa

Airlines Association of Southern Africa’s (AASA) has elected Wrenelle Stander, CEO of Comair, as the new chairperson at its 50th annual general meeting.  
    Elmar Conradie has been elected as AASA’s new deputy chairperson. He is the CEO of FlySafair.  Both will serve for the next 12 months.

Our industry is facing its most difficult test with Covid-19 and the economic crisis it has precipitated. Both Wrenelle and Elmar are highly respected and knowledgeable leaders in the Southern African air transport industry and well-placed to provide guidance and support as we continue to advocate for the airline industry and engage on their behalf with governments and regulators throughout the SADC region. 
Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO 

The 2020 virtual AGM was attended by over 170 delegates representing airlines, airports, air navigation and weather services as well as manufacturers, suppliers and other industry stakeholders. Read the original article...

  L  Travel restrictions hamper southern Africa’s economic recovery      
October 12, 2020. Edgar Bradt for New Era Live

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has warned that if the latest leisure travel restrictions are maintained, southern Africa’s aviation industry and the region’s entire economy will face a much slower and arduous recovery. Four airlines in southern Africa have already entered administration since the crisis began.
    The AASA, as well as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), cautioned that without urgent government relief, more carriers and their employees are at risk, as is the wider African air transport industry, which supports 7.7 million jobs on the continent. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, airline revenues from southern African countries are forecast to decline by 60% in 2020 and the number of passengers to fall by 58%.     
    "Our industry is in crisis and while we have achieved much, we must do more. Going forward, our work is cut out for us in removing obstacles in our way, re-building our industry and enabling the recovery of the economies we serve and connect through the vital connections we provide for trade, commerce and tourism. We must foster trust between governments and our industry and engage more directly with each other. We cannot exist without each other and must work together to strategise, plan and set about repairing the damage that has been done and preparing for a stronger, healthier and better future,” said AASA’s CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, during the association’s virtual annual general meeting last week.
    He added that the inability to trade and generate revenue while continuing to incur fixed costs, triggered an industry-wide liquidity crisis, forcing organisations to rapidly implement drastic cost saving measures. Said Zweigenthal: “The social and financial distress has been particularly hard. Many employees have taken pay cuts, been placed on paid or unpaid leave, temporarily laid off and, in the worst-affected businesses, retrenched. These have been traumatic experiences especially where alternative employment is extremely limited.” Read the original article...

  L  Tourism industry says safe travel is possible and urgent      
September 23, 2020. Bekezela Phakathi for Business LIve

‘We need to open access as far and as quickly as possible to stimulate recovery of our travel and tourism industry.’ Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO

As the government weighs options on which overseas countries will be open for travel to and from SA and some key sources of tourists consider new measures to contain spikes in Covid-19 infections, players in the multibillion-rand industry said further travel restrictions or bans will derail any recovery. 
    The government has already indicated that travel within Africa will be open from October 1 in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement earlier in September that the country was moving to level 1 of the national lockdown. Read the original article...

  L  What to expect from South Africa’s new international travel list: Tourism Minister      
September 20, 2020. BusinessTech.co.za

Government faces a balancing act as it selects the countries which will be allowed to travel to and from South Africa under the new level 1 lockdown. 
    Tourism Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, told the Sunday Times that South Africa is using World Health Organisation guidelines to determine which countries to allow in when international travel resumes. This includes factors such as transmission patterns, national public health and social measures for controlling outbreaks in both departure and destination countries, and public health capacity...Read the original article...

  L  [PANEL DISCUSSION] INSOL Virtual: Shelter in Place? The Effects of Lockdown and Beyond on the Travel and Tourism Industry      
September 16, 2020. Baker McKenzie - Lexology.com

This panel discussion explored the significant impact COVID has had on the travel and tourism industry and the knock-on effects to other businesses as a result. There were also some interesting predictions made about what we can expect to see in the future. The panelists were Robert Webster (President of Hotels Travel and Tourism group CBRE), Luis Yofe (Director of Travel and Logistics CRDF Global) and Chris Zweigenthal (CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa).

Some key insights include: 

  • The consensus was that the speed and wide-spread impact of COVID-19 restrictions on airlines and the global travel industry has been severe. Shifts in how we do business from face-to face to being facilitated remotely (like the INSOL conference itself) are expected to have longterm impacts on business air travel and hotel accommodation. Leisure travel is likely to be more resilient with a built up desire to travel in response to lockdowns meaning there is already greater demand for it. Domestic travel at “drive to” destinations is already seeing the benefit of that demand.
  • A projected return to near pre-COVID-19 levels in these industries is presently being forecast for 2024...Read the original article...

  L  SA tourism industry ready to welcome back international travellers      September 16, 2020.  Sasha Planting for Business Maverick

After weeks of intensive lobbying, South Africa’s travel and tourism industry is readying itself for the opening of the country’s borders after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the nation will move from Level 2 to Level 1 of the lockdown. 
    The reopening of South Africa’s borders to international travel follows several meetings convened by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and involving all players in the aviation industry on the best and safest way to reopen the airline industry. 

We have all, including the airlines, airports and the operators, submitted our operating procedures and COVID-19 protocols to the Civil Aviation Authority for approval. We are ready. 
Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO 

“We are ready; good to go,” adds Deon Cloete, general manager, Cape Town International, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). “We recognise that we have a huge responsibility. We have to get it right when the borders open.” Read the original article...

   L      Global news / 2020

In brief 

  L  Global Airline IT Market Analysis & Forecast to 2025: Covid-19 - Impact on Aviation Industry / Impact on Airline IT / Current State of Airlines September 8, 2020. Globe Newswire.

The Analysis of the Global Airline IT Market, Forecast to 2025 report has been published by ResearchAndMarkets.com. 
    Airlines are facing an ever-evolving digital landscape and an increase in expectations from an always-connected passenger. Cloud computing, mobile solutions, machine learning (ML), Blockchain, etc. are disrupting numerous traditional processes across industries. Airlines have lagged behind other industries in embracing these digital enablers, but many have begun their digital transformation (DT) journey that will fundamentally change the traditional airline information technology (IT) strategies.  
    The major challenge for airlines is their dependence on legacy systems for their critical IT needs. Solution providers are developing digital solutions that will enable airlines to overcome this challenge and help them grow in their DT endeavors. Read more...

          ICAO news / 2020

      ICAO COVID-19 Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART)    
May 27, 2020
Montréal, Canada.

Take-off: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

The CART Take-off guidance includes a section on Public Health Risk Mitigation Measures, in addition to four operational modules relating to Airport guidelines; Aircraft guidelines; Crew guidelines; and Cargo guidelines.
    The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global air transport is without precedent. Airports have seen a -28.4% decline in global passenger traffic volumes for the first quarter of 2020, equivalent to a reduction of 612 mn passengers. 
    ICAO estimates that by the end of 2020, the COVID-19 impact on scheduled international passenger traffic could reach reductions of up to 71% of seat capacity and to 1.5 bn passengers globally. Airlines and airports face a USD 314 bn loss of revenue for 2020. 
   This document provides a framework for addressing the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the global aviation transportation system. The appendix to this document includes mitigations needed to reduce public health risk to air passengers and aviation workers while strengthening confidence among the travelling public, the global supply chain including, and governments.  Read more...  

          Africa news / 2020

In brief 

  L  African airlines are dying, may see losses topping R33 billion in 2020
July 30, 2020. Carin Smith for Fin24.

The airline industry in Africa is dying and help is needed fast to prevent a total collapse. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, African airlines are forecast to lose US$ 2 bn in 2020.
IATA continues to ask governments not only to provide financial relief but also to consider tax relief as a reduction in charges. To-date, the South African government has not announced COVID-19 related assistance specifically to the country's aviation industry.  Read more...

  L       IATA news 2020

In brief 

  L  Financial aid, COVID-19 testing key to aviation’s survival in Southern Africa
October 8, 2020. AASA 50th AGM news release. 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) outlined the key priorities to ensure the long-term sustainability of aviation in Southern Africa as the industry continues to suffer from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions: 

  1.  Ensuring urgent government relief is provided to the air transport industry and that pledged funds from international and pan-African organizations reach those in need.
  2.  Accelerating the restart of aviation by replacing quarantines with testing. Read more...

  L  August 2020 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis                                                             Domestic markets dominated the recovery for another month  African passenger numbers continue to drop

The decline in capacity continued to ease in August as airlines returned more fleet to service and increased the frequency of operations on some routes. International demand lagged the positive developments on domestic routes in August. Read more...  

  L  August 2020 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Air cargo traffic recovers slowly amid insufficient capacity
Air cargo demand in Africa higher than last year…

International CTKs of African airlines grew by an even 1.0% year-on-year in August, after the same metric was down 3.0% in July. This is the fourth consecutive month in which the region posts the strongest international demand performance. Dynamic investment flows along the Africa-Asia route continue to drive the regional outcomes. Read more... 

          Southern Africa news / 2020 

In brief

  L  Comair is almost cleared for take-off
 August 30, 2020. Hilary Joffe, Sunday Times. 

Kulula and British Airways (BA) could take flight on domestic routes again by December, if Comair's creditors agree to a business rescue plan that would inject more than R1bn into the airline and allow the return of some of its former executives and directors. It would, however, pay trade creditors just 2.5c in the Rand.  Read more...

  L       Environment news 2020

In brief 

  L  Let's #EndWildlifeCrime
October 15, 2020. IATAtv.

We need to protect wildlife for generations to come. 

IATA is working with the aviation industry to support the work of enforcement agencies in combating the illegal trade in wildlife.​​​​ The aviation sector is proud to work with partners including ROUTES Partnership and United for Wildlife to combat illegal wildlife trafficking around the world. AASA supports the industry's initiatives to stop wildlife crime.