In Brief

COVID- 19 wreaks havoc

THE International Air Transport Association (Iata) released updated analysis showing that the COVID-19 crisis will see airline passenger revenues drop by $314 billion in 2020, a 55 per cent decline compared to 2019.

On March 24, Iata estimated $252 billion in lost revenues (-44 per cent vs. 2019) in a scenario with severe travel restrictions lasting three months.

The updated figures reflect a significant deepening of the crisis since then, and reflect the following parameters:

• Severe domestic restrictions lasting three months

• Some restrictions on international travel extending beyond the initial three months

• Worldwide severe impact, including Africa and Latin America (which had a small presence of the disease and were expected to be less impacted in the March analysis).

Full-year passenger demand (domestic and international) is expected to be down 48 per cent compared to 2019.The two main elements driving this are:

Overall Economic Developments: The world is heading for recession. The economic shock of the COVID-19 crisis is expected to be at its most severe in Q2 when GDP is expected to shrink by 6 per cent. Passenger demand closely follows GDP progression. The impact of reduced economic activity in Q2 alone would result in an 8 per cent fall in passenger demand in the third quarter.

Travel Restrictions: Travel restrictions will deepen the impact of recession on demand for travel. The most severe impact is expected to be in Q2. As of early April, the number of flights globally was down 80 per cent compared to 2019 in large part owing to severe travel restrictions imposed by governments to fight the spread of the virus.


Air Arabia plans repatriation, cargo flights

AIR ARABIA has announced new passenger repatriation flights as well as cargo flights to multiple destinations from Sharjah International Airport.

The airline will operate a mix of outbound only passenger flights as well as cargo flights during the month of April to Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Sudan, Egypt, India and Nepal. 

Air Arabia is committed to support requests to operate repatriation and cargo flights and remain working closely with UAE authorities in this regard.

Air Arabia reminds all passengers that gloves, and face masks must be worn in order to guarantee boarding.


Oman Air returns citizens homes

OMAN Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has completed 27 flights to 8 different countries to return citizens home and supply the nation with food, commodities, medicine and medical equipment.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oman Air has returned citizens home from Jordan, Qatar, the United Kingdom, Tanzania, India and Saudi Arabia.

Oman Air continues to provide regular round-trip service to Khasab; these flights transport citizens to and from the region and deliver a range of necessary supplies.


Air France updates loyalty benefits

AIR France, in lieu of the current situation, removes uncertainty of its patrons by informing them about their loyalty membership- Flying Blue Elite level.

The primary things to note, from Air France’s signature loyalty programme are-

• They would maintain all Flying Blue Elite members with a qualification period ending between March 2020 and February 2021 for another 12 months.

• They would prevent all Miles from expiring between now and the end of 2020 for their Explorer members.

Among other relaxed measures, penalty fees for trip cancellations are waived. Whether you have a reward ticket or promo reward ticket, miles will be credited to Flying Blue account and airport taxes to the credit card used for payment.

More details of the enhanced membership benefits, due to COVID-19, are available on Air France’s web portal.