Covid-19 clips airlines' wings, plus 5 highlights from 'Vrye Weekblad'

Here's what's hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

15 May 2020 - 07:59
We are going to miss the days of packed airport terminals and full parking garages.
We are going to miss the days of packed airport terminals and full parking garages.
Image: 123RF/Natalia Bratslavsky

Air travel will never be the same again. We are going to miss the days of packed terminals, expensive parking, delays and cancellations. In future, passenger air travel is going to be even worse than it was.

Even before the pandemic, it was clear that the industry was in trouble. 

Airlines are complex businesses that are hard to manage, need huge capital, have high fixed expenses, and have to survive on paper-thin profit margins – that is if they make any profit at all. 

Our local airlines are in trouble, and more around the world will likely fold in the months ahead. 

And they are not the only ones affected. Aeroplane manufacturers, support crews, maintenance, and everyone else in the supply chain has taken a beating. And then there are the charter companies, Acsa and all the small businesses operating in airport buildings.

Read more on the damage to this industry and other corona-related news and analysis in this week's edition of Afrikaans digital weekly Vrye Weekblad.

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We will only have more certainty about the future when an effective treatment for Covid-19 is found, but we have no idea when that will happen. It is safe to say though, that the recovery of the airline industry will take longer than the recovery of the rest of the global economy. 

Many potential travellers have now realised that they can do at least part of their work from home, meaning fewer people will fly. Less business travel is also an easy way for cash-strapped companies to save money. And since most people have suffered financial losses, they are unlikely to buy plane tickets any time soon. 

We do know that people will eventually start travelling again. The industry, however, will have to seriously reconsider its business model. Will the same routes still be profitable? Who are the people who will start travelling again first and how many are they?

Let's hope they find answers soon. 

Read the full article in this week's Vrye Weekblad

Must-read articles in this week's Vrye Weekblad

FREE TO READ – CUBANS WITH CORONA | Max du Preez writes about the SANDF's stubborn denials that members of the Cuban medical team tested positive for Covid-19.

FREE TO READSTUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF COVID-19 | On March 13, the Vorsters got on a plane to London for a holiday. Then Cyril Ramaphosa closed the borders behind them. This is the story of their non-adventure to get back to SA, and back home.

PAPA-IN-LAW IS A ROLLING STONE | Filmmaker Jacques Naudé is in lockdown with his in-laws, like so many others. But he has no ordinary father-in-law. 

FREE TO READWE NEED TO BOX CLEVER | Veral in ’n land soos Suid-Afrika – maar ook wêreldwyd – kan en moet 'n beter balans tussen die beskerming van lewens en ekonomiese volhoubaarheid gevind word, skryf HUGO PIENAAR.

COVER UP | While we wait for a vaccine, there is lots we can do to protect ourselves from corona.