12/01/2021 at 07:52 CET
“The emergence of new variants of covid was predictable. The airline industry’s recovery is already a reality, but it is highly likely to be full of ups and downs. So he sums up with a certain resignation Javier Gándara, CEO of airline easyJet for Southern Europe and president of the Spanish employers’ association of the ALA sector, the situation facing commercial aviation due to the impact of the appearance of omicron variant.
The fear of a new uncontrolled sixth wave and that the new variant will be confirmed as being more risky than those already known, has pushed many countries to recover or intensify the rair mobility restrictions or to resume more stringent entry controls through diagnostic tests or quarantines. “It is essential that the restrictions imposed by the countries are reasonable and that they are applied in a coordinated manner with the rest of the European states”, underlines Gándara. “It’s a problem if each country goes its own way and adopts its own restrictions.”
The president of the Airline Association (ALA), which brings together 60 companies operating in the Spanish market, highlights the quality and ease of international passenger entry controls that Spain has managed to apply at its airports. “Spain is the country which has best implemented the entry control of international passengers”, sentence Gándara. “It is the only country that controls 100% of passengers who come from abroad and most of them do so completely telematically.”
The general manager of the low-cost airline easyJet is pleased that, compared to the random and partial checks of other countries, the services of Foreign health The Spaniards managed to fully generalize the control of each passenger and do so in a fully digital way in most cases. All passengers on international flights have a QR code which is checked at origin and destination, and the one at the Spanish airport indicates whether the traveler has a European digital covid passport or whether a documentary check must be carried out to certify his vaccination. or who has negative diagnostic tests.
Recovery of the ‘low cost’
The resumption of air traffic in Spain, according to industry forecasts, will take another two or three years to be completed. From ALA, it is predicted that pre-pandemic passenger demand levels will not be reached until 2023 or 2024 in the Spanish air market. In this reactivation process, that of the low-cost companies promises to be faster and could already be anticipated next year.
“The low cost has an advantage, it is that its main activity is precisely that which recovers before after a crisis: short and medium-haul flights and the traveler on vacation or with family visiting. These are generally segments that have a faster recovery. The airlines of the traditional network also have a long-haul and business traveler activity, which have a slower recovery. This is how it goes.
According to Gándara, easyJet is already seeing ticket bookings for next year that are higher than pre-pandemic and is confident to recover all of its flights and reach the pre-ovid seat supply during the next peak season. summer, at one point. between July and September 2022, both in Spain and throughout Europe. Currently, the British low cost airline continues to operate with between 70% and 75% of its total capacity and only recovered about 60% of its passenger traffic before the pandemic.
The easyJet group, one of the low-cost giants in the European market, recorded losses of 858 million pounds (around 1,010 million euros) during its financial year – ending in September -, thus improving the red figures of 1,079 million pounds compared to the previous one. year.