L News & Industry Affairs / AASA / 2020
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The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, has expressed appreciation over the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on the relaxation of restrictions on international travel in South Africa. The prospects for Southern Africa’s economic recovery and future growth, along with securing millions of jobs in the region, has received a welcome boost, with President Ramaphosa’s re-opening of South Africa to all international tourists, Mr. Zweigenthal stated. Read more...
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has warned the governments of the region that the continuation of “inconsistent and arbitrary” air travel restrictions (to counter the COVID-19 pandemic) were endangering economic recovery and future growth. As a result, almost five-million jobs were at risk.
The association also called on the countries of Southern Africa to emphasise support for the whole of their air travel and tourism sectors. This would include airlines (both private and public sector), air navigation (air traffic control) services, airports, ground handlers, safety regulators, suppliers and allied enterprises. Read the original article...
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) stated (08-Oct-2020) economic recovery in southern Africa will be delayed by "unnecessary" restrictions and lack of support for the air transport industry.
AASA CEO Chris Zweigenthal said: "Governments can and must provide support to the entire industry as the recovery of their economies is heavily dependent upon it". Read the original article...
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...
- 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...
In this week’s webcast, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa, Chris Zweigenthal, talks to Travel News journalist Sarah Robertson about obstacles that the travel industry will still need to overcome to rebuild itself following the announcement that South Africa’s borders will reopen on October 1. Chris also discusses the state of the domestic aviation sector, which is beginning to show some recovery following a dismal restart of local flights in June.
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...
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.
South Africa has passed the peak and health experts are confirming that there is no reason not to fully open the economy and the borders. Given the health and safety protocols that are in place and must be complied with, the risk of transmission of the virus is low. We cannot wait for a vaccine or for the infection rates to go to zero. Everything South Africa did has prepared us to mitigate the risks and deal with the infections where it occurs. Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO
Zweigenthal said AASA would like to see the borders opened by as soon as 1 October: “South Africa needs to set a date to enable airlines, travel and tourism to have a target to work to, for marketing purposes and to enable passengers to make reservations in good time. Tourists, both South African and International, are now at a critical stage of making decisions to travel over the December / January holiday...” Read more...
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on the local and global aviation, travel and tourism sectors.
In South Africa, currently at Level 3 of the state of disaster regulatory model, the travel ban still applies and our airlines, travel and tourism businesses are operating at a limited capacity.
As soon as the travel ban is lifted, AASA will heed the call to action and join the global movement to restore passenger confidence and rebuild our sector so we can take to the skies again.
AASA and it's airline members support IATA's #FlyWithConfidence campaign (together with oneworld Alliance, SkyTeam and Star Alliance) to highlight the current health and safety measures in place by airlines to ensure you can fly with confidence. #FlySafe #ReadyToTravel
AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal will be participating in the Aviation Panel Sessions at the #AfricaTomorrow virtual conference on 21 July 2020.
"Africa's travel and tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors are facing challenges unlike we've ever witnessed before. Africa Tomorrow has been developed in this time of uncertainty to unite the industry’s leaders and to encourage online networking for discussions on how we deal with the economic circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and what new partnerships are needed for all kinds of industry businesses.
100% free for all Africans and Africa-based businesses: click here to register.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) introduced a free online interactive world map to provide travelers with the latest COVID-19 entry regulations by country. The map relies on IATA’s Timatic database which contains comprehensive information on documentation required for international travel. Read the original article...
With fleets of aeroplanes grounded; millions of passengers sitting at home and billions lost in revenue – the global aviation industry is in a freefall. As most countries around the world continue to protect their citizens from the spread of the coronavirus by keeping their borders closed and limiting international travel, experts predict that the repercussions for airlines will be devastating. The industry is in desperate need of financial relief but can it survive the impact?
Macfarlane Moleli interviews Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA, about the South African airline industrycrisis.
The global aviation industry is experiencing devastating financial losses during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is resulting in job losses, airline restructuring and the complete dismantling of airline businesses.
Here in South Africa we have been served with our fair share of airline troubles as this week Comair entered into voluntary business rescue and SAA is looking at developing a new national carrier.
Joining CNBC Africa to unpack the latest on Southern Africa’s airline industry and national carrier South African Airways is Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA, gives an interview to SABC News about the airline industry in crisis and efforts to get us flying again.
Watch the IATA video appeal, published in conjuction with the press release, appealing to the international community to support the African travel and tourism sector.
"AASA was pleased to join the initiative by several international organisations calling for support from international financial institutions, country development partners and international donors to support Africa’s travel and tourism sector during these extraordinary times of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA.
Private airlines in the country battered by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, have joined their state-owned counterparts in a bid to be included in the government's COVID-19 rescue package.
AASA has written to the National Treasury asking for urgent intervention from government in the airline industry, following the prohibition of air travel as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus in the country.
"Aviation will be a crucial role-player in the South African recovery plan for business travel, tourism, trade and the economy in general, being an enabler for the quick and efficient transport of people and goods. Whilst many states around the world are considering aid to support their own airlines, it is important that South Africa does the same for its own," AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal said in a letter...Read the original article...
L AASA PRESS RELEASE/ CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Airline travellers urged to practice good hygiene and stay at home if unwell
March 16, 20. Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) says that while airlines are taking every possible precaution to curb the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) infection, passengers should also act responsibly and with due care by limiting their exposure to fellow travellers, air crew and airport workers.
“Airlines throughout Southern Africa are complying with stringent international and local health and safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, but we urge any passengers who are feeling unwell, displaying any respiratory illness symptoms, or who may have come into contact with a carrier of the Coronavirus, not to travel to airports or board flights,” said AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal. Read the press release here...
L AASA Member News & Notices
On 30 November 2020, Ms Wrenelle Stander, Chairperson of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), announced that she would be stepping down from her position of Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Comair Limited with immediate effect. Wrenelle has accordingly stepped down as Chairperson and Director of AASA. Mr Elmar Conradie, Chief Executive of Flysafair, the Deputy Chairperson of AASA, has agreed to step in as Acting Chairperson of AASA. AASA held its Board and Executive Committee meeting on 1 December 2020 and its General Business Meeting on 2 December 2020, and Elmar chaired both meetings. In the first quarter of 2021, we shall go through the process of filling the position vacated by Wrenelle.
I wish to thank Wrenelle for her leadership, guidance, support and assistance to the AASA team throughout her tenure. She was elected Deputy Chairperson of AASA at our AGM in Reunion in October 2019, took over as Acting Chairperson in April 2020 following the departure of Ms Zuks Ramasia from SAA, and was then elected as Chairperson at the AASA AGM on 8 October 2020. Her commitment to AASA was sincerely appreciated. We wish Wrenelle and her family the best for the future.
You will be aware that since 5 May 2020, Comair has been in Business Rescue, and following due process, a new Investor Consortium was appointed and has taken over the leadership of Comair Limited. We welcome back Mr Glenn Orsmond as Chief Executive Officer and his team to the industry, and look forward to continuing working with Comair as one of our valued members as their operations re-commence in December 2020. We are also pleased to welcome Glenn as a member of the AASA Executive Committee effective 1 December 2020.
‘As we go into 2021…an absolutely critical year, we’re still going to see problems with cash availability and liquidity.’ Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO.
Nompu Siziba interviews AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal about developments and new players in the local aviation industry, and how South Africa's tourism demand is looking for the festive season. Read the transcript of the radio interview...
All regions face a steep uphill climb from the COVID-19 crisis, but the starting point for African carriers is much further down the mountain. Most were loss-making before the pandemic and are ill-equipped for the tough journey that will continue through 2021. Read the original article featuring comments by Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO...
Chris Zweigenthal speaks about how better testing can eliminate mandatory and universal quarantines that kill passenger demand. Read the rush transcript of the interview...
The prospects for Southern Africa’s economic recovery and future growth, along with securing millions of jobs in the region, received a welcome boost on 11 November 2020, with President Ramaphosa’s re-opening of South Africa to all international tourists. But we are not out of the woods yet.
The decision marks the culmination of an intensive effort by industry, led by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, AASA and partner bodies, to persuade the South African government it could safely resume international air travel without compromising its efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Under the relaxed restrictions, tourists from all nations may visit South Africa as long as they present valid COVID-19 test certificates.
AASA welcomes this positive step forward and urges all other SADC countries that have also reopened their borders to harmonise the implementation of the ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force’s (CART) guidance for the safe resumption of air travel and tourism. These measures and standards were prepared in conjunction with the World Health Organisation. Read the full article in the November 2020 Issue 3 of AASA News...
While governments must assist communities and other enterprises that are also desperate for financial relief, they should not ignore the vital role that aviation, travel and tourism will play in driving Southern Africa’s economic recovery through the jobs they create - directly and indirectly - and the millions of people whose livelihoods are dependent upon them.
Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO
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...
Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, recently addressed the its 50th Annual General Meeting saying it has been an extraordinary year for the Southern African aviation industry:
"Airlines are not alone in facing the present crisis. Our industry partners, including infrastructure and other service providers and safety regulators have been equally affected. Over the past seven months the constructive working relationships AASA has forged over decades with all of its industry partners and stakeholders, has proven invaluable and we have been able to find common ground and solutions on most of the issues that we usually and routinely need to address to ensure that air transport in our region is safe, efficient, viable, accessible and affordable. COVID-19 and the devastating effects for our entire industry have demanded our attention this year." Read the original article...
‘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...
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...Read the original article...
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...
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...
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, essentially, 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 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 here...
COVID-19 has affected each region differently. Southern Africa appears to have taken one of the biggest blows in Africa. With three airlines under administration and many more others struggling to survive.
The JAA Interview Series speaks to Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA on the status and way forward for commercial aviation in Southern Africa. Read the full interview.
AASA has announced it will host the 50th AGM via Zoom on 8 October 2020 at 12h00 -15h00. For more information contact Celeste Breedt on firstname.lastname@example.org
Airlink are confirmed to host the 2021 Annual General Assembly.
Never has anyone experienced such disruption and devastation to the degree that we are currently being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our health and livelihoods are under threat and the consequences of a global recession, socio-economic hardship, collapse of businesses, and loss of jobs have impacted every sector, with our aviation, travel and tourism industry probably one of the hardest hit. Read the original article...
Watch this panel discussion from the #AfricaTomorrow virtual conference held on 21 July 2020.
AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal, joined other industry leaders including: Abderahmane Berthe [Secretary General, African Airlines Association (AFRAA)]; Sanjeev Gadhia [(Vice Chairman, The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA)]; and Raphael Kuuchi [Special Envoy to Africa on Aero-Political Affairs, International Air Transport Association (IATA)] to discuss the challenges facing the African aviation industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LAt its 26 May 2020 meeting, the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of AASA took the very difficult decision to cancel the Annual General Assembly (AGA) which was scheduled to take place at Skukuza from 8 to 11 October 2020.
The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both aviation, travel and tourism, with domestic business travel just having commenced at four airports, and other airports to be added in phases over the next weeks, and no clear indication of when tourism together with regional and international travel will be authorised, has contributed to this decision.
The airline industry has been extremely hard hit with revenues cut to zero overnight when the lockdown commenced and this has resulted in airlines as well as all aviation, travel and tourism service providers, being severely impacted by a liquidity crisis...Read the full statement...
Johannesburg, South Africa - The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) and the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) are calling on the South African government to provide specific financial relief to the aviation sector to address the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Read the original article... or download the press release [.pdf]
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced that the whole country will move to Level 3 of lockdown on June 1st. This means that airlines may resume operations. Sort of. Whether they will, remains to be seen. The aviation industry is eagerly awaiting details on just how they are to return to the skies...Read the original article...
If a successful airline like Comair needs help, they all do, and they want the government to show them the money.
JSE-listed Comair’s decision last week to go into business rescue sent shockwaves through the aviation industry because for more than 70 years it consistently delivered annual profits.
The prevailing view in aviation circles is if this can happen to Comair, which is solvent, it can happen to anyone.
Though Comair is not the first SA airline to enter business rescue — state-owned SAA went this route in December 2019 — it is the first high-profile victim of Covid-19 in the industry. Read the original article...
Geneva - Five international air transport and tourism bodies have launched an appeal to international financial institutions, country development partners and international donors to support Africa’s Travel and Tourism sector which employs some 24.6 million people on the African continent.
Without urgent funding, the COVID-19 crisis could see a collapse of the sector in Africa, taking with it millions of jobs. The sector contributes $169 bn to Africa’s economy combined - 7.1% of the continent’s GDP.
The impact of COVID-19 in Africa continues to be brutal. Air travel and tourism have essentially shut down. Now, more than ever, international countries need to come together to help those communities that are most vulnerable. The survival of our industry and its allied sectors has serious ramifications for Africa’s entire air transport system. Chris Zweigenthal, AASA CEO
The request is being made by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
These organisations are jointly calling on international financial institutions, country development partners and international donors to support the African Travel and Tourism sector through these tough times by providing:
- $10 billion in relief to support the Travel & Tourism industry and help protect the livelihoods of those it supports directly and indirectly;
- Access to as much grant-type financing and cash flow assistance as possible to inject liquidity and provide targeted support to severely impacted countries;
- Financial measures that can help minimize disruptions to much-needed credit and liquidity for businesses...Download the full press release...
South African airlines have a vital role to play in enabling the economy to try and rise out of the coronavirus induced recession. Yet, the country's airline industry itself is in danger of collapse due to flight bans since the start of the lockdown on 27 March, leading to zero revenues.
"We recognise that the primary objective is to prevent the virus from spreading, but the longer the airline industry is unable to fly, the more severe the risk becomes of loss of jobs and loss of airlines," warns Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
"We believe the airline industry can provide very safe and reliable transport to get the economy going around the country and when borders open, we can get regional and international travel back on track."
AASA will continue to work with all stakeholders in order to make this possible. Read the original article...
SA’s aviation industry is teetering on the brink of collapse as it tallies up the costs of a nationwide lockdown that has grounded hundreds of aircraft, putting nearly half-a-million jobs at risk, the head of an industry group said.
"If we do not start soon to operate [again] the situation will worsen and we will see further collapse. All airlines will be affected," Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa, told Business Day on Tuesday...Read the original article...
L [WATCH] State of the local aviation sector
April 7, 2020. Business Day TV
Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA, gives an interview to Business Day TV on the state of the local and international aviation sector.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reacted to US President Donald Trump’s bans on citizens and residents of European countries from travelling to the US by affirming that the organisation and its members would maintain their support for governments in their attempts to contain Covid-19, recognising that governments had to take the steps they regard as essential, but calling for the support of the increasingly battered airline industry worldwide. It also urged all governments to follow World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. Read the original article...