Regional airline Bluebird Aviation has expressed optimism of more people flying for leisure and business in Kenya and globally.
Aviation General Manager Hussein Mohammed said travelers’ confidence to fly and the feeling that one’s health is not going to be affected and that they are not fearful of Covid-19 is growing but at a slow pace.
“That confidence is improving, albeit slowly and laboriously, but eventually we will be there,” said Captain Mohammed.
“Initially I had thought that by the end of this year, that improvement would have increased significantly, but with what is going on in places like India, and low vaccination numbers in our country and limited availability and accessibility of vaccines has impacted on the growing confidence to fly again,” he added.
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) report indicates that African airlines lost $10.21 (about Sh1.1 trillion) in passenger revenue in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted the travel industry.
According to the report, the number of scheduled passengers carried by African airlines fell by 63.7 percent, from 95 million in 2019 to 34.7 million in 2020.
“It will take about the end of 2022 for most travelers to regain the confidence to fly again and when a larger population would have gotten at least the first dose of the vaccines which is protective enough and 100 percent against hospitalization and at least 90 percent against the severe form of COVID-19. But it would help if you got the second dose to feel fully protected,” said Captain Mohammed.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccination protects you from getting seriously ill and dying from Covid-19. For the first fourteen days after reaching a vaccination, you do not have significant levels of protection; then, it increases gradually.
For a single-dose vaccine, immunity will generally occur two weeks after vaccination; however, both doses are needed to achieve the highest level of immunity possible.