• Wed. May 11th, 2022

CNN explores the resurgence of the airline industry in the…

(MENAFN- Houbara) On this month’s episode of Marketplace Middle East, CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh and Salma Abdelaziz explore how airlines in the Middle East are recovering from the effects of the pandemic and how the industry aims to return with a focus on sustainability.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges the airline industry has faced. As new variants threaten the industry’s steady recovery, CNN learns how regional carriers in the Middle East are pivoting their strategies and coping with the “new normal.”

Emirates Chairman Tim Clark explains the impact of the omicron variant on travel in the region: “I was actually very concerned about the effect that [new variants] would particularly on inbound loads from the Emirates to Dubai and the UAE this month and January, which are very, very strong. In my opinion, these variants will continue to appear. I am among those who believe that the effects of the variants will dissipate over time as the world’s population becomes more immune.

At the Dubai Airshow, CNN meets Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of the Emirates Group. The 2021 airshow was the biggest edition since the event began in 1989 and Al Maktoum hopes this is a positive sign for Dubai, “When we talk about recovery, I think continuing the program to continue to ensure that people coming to this place… they will be safe. They will be healthy. We care about them. That is the most important thing, and it has really given a lot of people the confidence to come to Dubai.”

Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, Al Maktoum is hopeful for the future of Emirates: “I can say that as we enter the second month of the end of the year, we are in profit. So I hope the world will go on. I hope the worst is over. And now we’re looking forward, ready to start over and achieve the number of passengers and revenue we used to.

Istanbul Airport in Turkey is set to become the busiest airport in the world when the expansion works are completed. Here, Karadsheh meets the airport’s CEO, Kadri Samsunlu, who says international cooperation is key to reviving the travel industry: “We still lack a bit of harmonization in travel requirements. Each country still imposes its own conditions, which makes travel difficult. And if you are unsure whether there are certain certainties regarding your travel arrangements, you can consider staying at home or staying in your own country and traveling there.

Samsunlu credits a strong domestic air travel market, Turkey’s rapid reopening to foreign tourists and close coordination with hub carrier Turkish Airlines with helping the airport weather a difficult year. He hopes that new variants won’t delay this progress, “If we panic every time a variant emerges, it’s going to be a very bumpy road. But what I would recommend is basically we, the cure – we have the vaccine – promote vaccination. Anything beyond that…let’s not come back in 2020.”

As the industry prepares to rebound, many are looking for more sustainable ways to operate flights. From lightweight cutlery and plant-based water bottles, to engines and route planning systems that optimize take-off and landing, Etihad Airways is exploring many sustainable options. Etihad CEO Tony Douglas explains how the pandemic has accelerated the implementation of these sustainable practices: “I think what we’re going to see is an acceleration in adoption. I think we will see a number of people as a result of the pandemic switch to more modern aircraft types. I am confident that we will see the availability of sustainable aviation fuels accelerate and, consequently, a reduction in costs. »

Etihad has partnered with Boeing to test the latest technologies, including the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). While Douglas praises the advantages of using SAF, he warns that there are still disadvantages today: “Its availability is a huge challenge. It is also three times more expensive. So even if you can get it, it’s not commercially viable. Because it’s not one or the other conversation. You cannot be sustainable or profitable. You need to be sustainable and profitable.

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