In an unusual and unprecedented move, Sharjah-based low-cost airline Air Arabia has opened regular passenger flight bookings on its online reservation portal to a number of destinations across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East with effect from June 1, Khaleej Times reported.
As the countries are easing lockdowns after number of coronavirus cases declined, the airline has anticipated international flights as normal business and opened bookings for regular return flights to Mumbai, Delhi, Trivandrum, Karachi, Peshawar, Dhaka, Colombo, Beirut, Cairo, Jeddah, Riyadh, Moscow and Vienna, among others, from June 1, 2020.
On the other hand, top executives of Emirates and Etihad, two of the Middle East’s biggest airlines, have said passenger demand may not return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels until 2023. About 85 percent of the world’s airlines could face financial distress by the end of the year without government aid, Emirates President Tim Clark and Etihad CEO Tony Douglas told a video conference hosted by the US-UAE Business Council last week.
Clark and Douglas reiterated their beliefs that until an effective vaccine for the COVID-19 respiratory disease becomes widely available, how passengers fly will be different, a statement by the council said. Lasting restrictions like 14-day quarantines, testing, and social distancing will impact demand and operations, they said.