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Airline firms urged to work together for good of aviation

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Airline companies across the world should put the brakes on competing in the marketplace for now and work together to get the industry back off the ground following the devastating impacts of coronavirus.

That’s according to leading figures from the Middle East’s aviation community, who came together recently to discuss how airlines, airports, OEMs, regulators and other stakeholders can work together to reinstate passenger confidence in a market decimated by ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking as part of a socially distanced roundtable, organised by Aviation Business, entitled Restoring Customer Confidence in Air Travel, Linus Bauer, founder and managing director of Bauer Aviation Advisory, said: “The entire aviation industry globally shares a huge challenge and should set aside competition and rally around a multi-channel campaign that targets governments and consumers.”

He added that the proposed campaign should address the three main issues impacting travel – easing travel restrictions, rapid testing and promoting visible safety changes during the travel journey to provide reassurance.

Bauer was joined by Bernie Dunn, president of Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey; Laila Hareb Almheiri, CEO, Alive Group; Adel Ali, CEO, Air Arabia; George Fenergi, VP, business transformation, SITA; and Sam Chui, aviation blogger (samchui.com).

Ali stressed at the event that aviation still qualifies as the safest mode of transport.

“I just want to reassure everyone. The only way to get that confidence is to get on an aeroplane, travel, and feel it. And then once you’ve done it, you want to do it more,” he said.

The influential group agreed that while industry stakeholders have worked incredibly hard in recent weeks they will have to continue to lobby governments to roll out quicker Covid-19 testing and ease quarantine and border restrictions.

One of the group’s core messages was that the aviation industry must be consistent in its communication to passengers, which means companies must set aside competition and differences until the sector emerges from the crisis.