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Yes, Airlines Industry will win the fight against  COVID 19 - By Ahmed Haouaria

Yes, Airlines Industry will win the fight against  COVID 19 - By Ahmed Haouaria

05 Mai 2020
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I was wrong with my pessimistic prediction

My story with airlines crises 

Yes, I remember as if it was just yesterday this day of January 16, 1991, when with my newly recruited colleagues…. I was in the middle of the process of Cabin Crew training following my admission for the position of a flight attendant with National Moroccan airlines Royal Air Maroc. Operation "Desert Storm" had just been officially announced by US President G.Bush, proclaiming the start of the second Gulf War.

With my batch colleagues, we were preparing for a safety and rescue course evaluation ... At some point, I asked my friends: 

''Will this evaluation and the coming ones be useful for something? I mean for career purposes? ''

''This was a war declaration and it just sounded terrible guys.''

Having started four months earlier, the training was supposed to finish within two months and therefore my career in commercial aviation would start. It all seemed to be compromised that 16 of January 1991. The start of the war seemed like the end of a dream. I was pretty sure that my career in commercial aviation would never start.

The news which came to us from the company operations, few weeks later, informed us that under the best conditions two flights were operated per day and between colleagues it was whispered that given the situation our training was going to come to an end shortly. Let us remember the consequences of this war. Airline traffic around the world was almost wiped out. But that was without counting on the sector’s capacity to rise from the ashes.

I was wrong with my pessimistic prediction. With only one month delay, I started flying as a junior cabin crew with slight turbulence on April 19, 1991, slowly but surely. And this career lasted 19 years, a great school, and a greater experience of life which through time shaped both my personal and professional maturity with further professional development and promotions.

What happened before Corona - Virus 

September 11 New York attacks happened in 2001 which led to a downturn in the international tourism industry of all countries.  The world tourism industry suffered a severe downturn of over 10%, in the first few months following the attacks. In some countries, this figure was even close to 30%. Another blow to the sector in October 2002 with the Bali bombing which affected not only Indonesia but all of Asia.

The epidemic of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003 was a new, enigmatic, and disturbing disease that was to reshape the airlines operating procedures. With more than 6,000 people affected in 27 countries and 416 death. Airlines had to adapt to survive.

6 years later, it is the turn of the 2008 world financial crisis with its significant consequences on the airline's sector to create a whirlwind in the sky.

In 2010, after Humans, epidemics, and financial crises, it is Mother Nature's turn to exercise its effect. The Iceland volcano Eyjafjöll erupted in southern Iceland, just 160 km southeast of the capital Reykjavik. After a rest of almost 200 years, the volcano had eventually crashed the party. With the emission of a plume of smoke that blocks air traffic from northern Europe, the volcano was causing major disruptions in air transport worldwide with the closure of several airspaces and many flight cancellations.

COVID 19

And then COVID 19, finally came, an invisible but so aggressive enemy, that forces the airlines and with them all the tourism sector components to a sudden stop when the figures for 2019 were good and the prospects promising.

United on the face of the enemy ferocity wave, the, airlines around the world, forced to stop their activities, will not hesitate to send their crews to fronts that are sometimes dangerous, including in China, for medical missions that the countries of the whole world badly need, or to repatriate when possible citizens stuck somewhere in the world. In all past and current events, air transport professional’s crisis management has played a major role in restoring confidence. Resilience, one of the character traits of the sector, has always shown that when faced with the crisis, and confronted with the most unexpected challenges whatever their magnitudes are, there are always avenues that can be followed to stimulate dynamic renewal even if unfortunately, there are always companies that will not recover easily. 

Convalescence may be long but finally achieved and beneficial

During all these years when I feel I’m blessed to be part of this amazing world, where I had the opportunity to build a career in aviation starting from the very first step and working on that to achieve training, commercial and management positions, I was always amazed how airline sector renewal capacity and  ablility to overcome obstacles.

Airlines: Holders of universal services missions

Airlines people are in essence the holders of universal services missions. Whatever the conditions and circumstances they are all the time in front lines to ensure their mission. They work with all communities to craft the flight programs that make the most sense for their travels, business trips, and holidays. During this unprecedented health crisis, airlines are doing what they can to support communities providing medical support by operating round-trip flights for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.

Now that flight passenger flights are suspended and schedules considerably reduced, with COVID rapid proliferation and the declaration of a state of emergency in many world regions the commercial aviation has proven its ability to adjust the fight against the virus with what it does best: transporting people and goods to where they are indispensable.  Goods such as Respirators, face masks, and disinfectant quickly becomes rare products. Demand for both medical staff and patients is naturally higher given the current situation. Airlines around the globe and around the clock immediately adapted their operations to transport medical and personal protective equipment to the regions most affected by the public health crisis as one of the measures to support the fight against virus hence bridging the world and efficiently accompanying the fight against Covid-19.

My message

To all my former colleagues at Royal Air Maroc, Atlas Blue, Air Arabia, and all world Airlines community, I just wanted to share this message of hope:

Crews will soon put on their best uniforms

Planes will again fly higher

Passengers will happily prepare their travels

The sky will again be the only limit

Tomorrow will, for sure, be better.

Ahmed 

 

 

 

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