SAHEED EYASIM

This statement will probably sound far-fetched and unrealistic in the present chaotic situation. However, it is said and believed that there is always and can only be sunshine after rain. It seems that stakeholders are desperate and seeing only the half empty glass. Despite the fact that all the present indicators show that the Industry is at its lowest and darkest moment can we still look for hopes for a better future? Irrespective of the fact that all airlines are almost at a bankruptcy level can we not aspire of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? If we keep on procrastinating and waiting for the situation to evolve then we are bound to have only failure at the end. It is a time to take bold decisions that may seem cruel now but will certainly drive a better future. A lot has been said and is still being said about our National Airline. It is unfortunate that the majority of what is said and written tends to condemn the running of the company at all levels of management. It can be on the purchase of aircrafts, route management, strategic alliances, marketing etc. Notwithstanding the fact that it is easier to complain and be wise after the event than be part of the decision-making process in a situation where the airline industry on a whole has been facing adverse worldwide economic and commercial uncertainties. However, we should not depict the fact that in the global situation we should consider that our national carrier does not and will never fight with the same ammunition as its competitors which are the major international airlines like Emirates, British Airways, and Turkish Airlines. Some people might not know how difficult it is to negotiate landing rights, code sharing etc… when you are a small airline. However, it is honourable to note that despite all the shortcomings, people do not see how the company has succeeded brilliantly in negotiations which are more like a battle between David and Goliath. I am convinced that if we start to look forward and stop looking back we can only move successfully. Let us all work and contribute in making our National Airline an example of resilience. Let us work hard and make the company rise higher by learning from the past mistakes and not repeating them. It is always a pride when you are overseas at major international airports to see our plane parked, taking off and landing near big airlines. Those who travel a lot know this overwhelming experience of showing to the world though we are a small island but we are daring nation and operate with confidence among our far bigger and better competitors.

Having said that, the situation that is prevailing deserves actions that go in line with the strategy of putting back the airline on track profitably. This will only be achieved if we consider that travel will not be as it has ever been before. The earlier we take the measures to convince passengers worldwide that they can travel safely and healthily, the earlier we will generate confidence with all stakeholders. The situation that has arisen with Covid-19 will result in an adaptation of the services to passengers.

It must be noted that some airlines have already started to fly again. Though the strategy is to fly short haul which is an effective strategy to start gradually before finally launching long haul flights. It is believed that after the confinement there will be the need for people to stretch and travel after having been confined for such a long time depending on their financial possibilities.

Decisions and measures will need to be bold enough to reassure people to start to travel again and if they are followed, it can only be beneficial for the future of travel.

I hope that the ideas shared above will give some more hopes to the Travel Industry which as you know is not only about travelling from one point to the other but about discoveries and encounters. Travel will always enlighten, broaden and provide enrichment for the body and mind to people worldwide.