Olowo laments impact of COVID-19 variants on air travels

President of the Aviation Round Table, Elder Gabriel Olowo has lamented the negative impact of the Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants on air travel.

Looking into how the sector had fared in the face of the pandemic in the outgone year, Olowode cited how the third quarter of 2020 which was growing steadily to almost 75% was suddenly confronted with the different variants of Delta and Omicron Coronavirus.

The business and leisure travel management expert declared: “aviation business was beginning to crawl to between 10 and 30%, in a Year on Year basis, YOY {in comparison with the same period in 2020} in Q1 till mid Q2, of 2021.

“As a corollary to the twin attack on travel by Delta and Omicron, aviation performance returned to the first-quarter level, and especially in this December, for the fourth quarter Q4, and one only hopes the decline does not continue into 2022”.

Olowo noted that the reactions by governments which came in form of various manners of travel restrictions especially meant to curtail the spread of Omicron, dealt a blow on the tenuous recovery trajectory as recorded from the first quarter to the third.

He identified the following decisions of the government as culpable in the retrogression saying: “Discriminatory border closures, visa regimes, and COVID-19 protocols disrupted growth once again”.

He however expressed cautious optimism for 2022 while assuming that medical sciences would effectively checkmate any further mutation of Omicron to nothing else so that people could get back their lives and exercise one of mankind’s fundamental human rights- freedom of movement which includes travel through all the intermodal transport systems.

Olowo thus expressed optimism saying: “one should positively look forward to 2022 with great hopes that Omnicron variant will not metamorphose into another variant or any other plague as such that will impact a life so negatively like Covid-19.”

He, however, urged the media, especially those reporting air transport, tourism, and hospitality to be careful not to promote the challenges bedeviling the nation which he said were more often peculiar to most another comity of nations globally.

He rather called on correspondents, editors, and publishers, especially those in the new media, “should make a deliberate effort to sell the destination Nigeria, rather than its challenges which is not uncommon in any economy”.

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