By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE aviation industry is banking on the Covid-19 vaccine to revamp the operations which have suffered setbacks at the start this year after showing signs of recovery in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Fourth quarter of 2020 showed signs of recovery but that process has been affected by the new Covid-19 variant, says Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) General Manager, Gabriel Lesa.
Mr Lesa regretted that airlines such as RwandAir and Angola had stopped operations due to effects caused by the new Covid-19 variant.
“By December 2020, we were looking like we are coming back but the variant changes everything. We had started making headways but then this variant has come so it is taking us back again.
“But we remain hopeful. The year 2020 was very devastating but in the fourth quarter we started seeing a lot of recovery which has been disrupted,” Mr Lesa said in an interview.
He however expressed optimism that the industry would recover by end of this year as he banked on the Covid-19 vaccine.
Mr Lesa was confident that the vaccine would be helpful in recovering the industry as most airlines which had stopped operations would start working again.
“The only silver lining is that the vaccine will have some impact as you can see in the United States and United Kingdom are coming down fast so we hope our primary market for tourism will have the vaccine.
“If the vaccines continues to impact Covid-19 the way we have seen it so far, there could be positive growth towards the end of the year,” he said.
On the domestic flights, Mr Lesa said all the airlines were currently operating adding that: “The local airline are still operating even though the loads are not as good as they were.
‘It is just that a number of operators like RwandAir and Angola have stopped for the moment flying right now because of the pandemic. But we hope they come back quickly.”