KIA: International Airlines optimistic of rebound in operations

Despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, international airlines operating at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) are optimistic of a rebound in their operations by the second quarter of 2022.

The aviation industry suffered from the pandemic with many countries introducing travel restrictions as part of preventive measures to avert the spread of the virus.

But gradually, things are returning to normal as the COVID-19 vaccines are recording significant rates of efficacy.

With news of the Omicron variant late last year, players in the space were hit with some level of uncertainty.

Speaking in an interview, Public Relations Manager of Ethiopian Airlines-Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, Dominic Andoh, stated that taking into consideration measures that have been put in place to curb the spread of the virus, he is confident that the sector would fully recover by second quarter 2022.

He said “The top five airlines when it comes to the use of the Kotoka International Airport were almost reaching the 2019 figure. Their load factors were increasing to about 80 to 90 per cent and it was good for us until omicron just hit.”

“Because of omicron there are some restrictions in place now. Ethiopian and a few others cannot fly to Dubai, but others are also operating. It means that in 2022 if we are able to bring Omicron under control, which I think we would because of the massive rollout of vaccines in Ghana, and some of these bans are lifted, then in the first two quarters of 2022, we should be back to our pre-pandemic levels in 2019,” he added.

Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines has indefinitely suspended flights from Ghana to the UAE.

The indefinite suspension followed an initial 48-hours ban of flights from Accra to Dubai.

“Emirates flight suspension from Accra to Dubai effective December 27, 2021, is now extended until further notice,” stated the airline in a communique sent to trade partners on Tuesday, December 28, 2021.

The airline, however, said Dubai to Accra flights would, however, continue for passengers holding confirmed bookings and meeting the entry requirements for Accra.

Tourism industry professionals have lamented over the huge losses incurred as a result of the decision of Emirates Airline to indefinitely suspend flights from Accra to Dubai.

This is because some travel and tour companies in the country have asserted that some of their customers have already made arrangements to travel to Dubai.

Managing Director of Adansi Travels and Tours, Gideon Asare, said some of his clients had already made hotel bookings and paid for Covid-19 testing.

“The effect, I can’t even describe it. It’s so huge that most of our customers are worried and confused and don’t know what to do. And this is a lot of investment that they have kicked into their travel,” he said.

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