Aviation industry reflects global crisis

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 19:51 by Aviation Correspondent

Political turmoil, civil crisis along with the nuclear threat in Japan have affected the global aviation industry at large. Due to the circumstances, airlines have cancelled and reduced number of flights to the Middle East, Japan and Western Africa.

Delta Airlines feels that the demand for air travel has decreased considerably this year. And instinctively the company would be altering its April and May schedules. Past week Delta announced a 30% cut in its capacity to Japan until May and also delayed the launch of a new service from Narita, Tokyo to Guangzhou, China, from April, to July. Between March 11 and 31st, Delta will lose revenues of up to $50 million.

The carrier promised that if they demand clawed back, they would bring back the flights. Delta said that they were keeping a close watch on the market.

US Airways’ advance bookings were up 2 percent to 3 percent leading up to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. But in the immediate aftermath, bookings fell 20 percent. This shows the global impact of the disaster; US Airways doesn’t fly to Japan, in fact, it doesn’t fly to Asia at all.

Japan is not the only messy place, according to UN reports, due to the political imbalance and skirmishes in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, some 700,000 people fled their homes. Scheduled flights from Abidjan for the week starting April 11 is down by 25% compared to the week from February 7. Aviation experts remark that normally during the summer season, the flight schedules remain at the least constant or increase.

The no—fly zone declared over Libya, affects the flying of commercial as well as military aircrafts. Nearly half-a-dozen airlines, including British Airways and Royal Air Maroc, have cancelled all flights to Tripoli International Airport.

But not all crises avert airlines off, like the 4.5% increase in flights at Bahrain International Airport between Feb. 7 and April 11.

In Egypt and Tunisia, where political unrest and civil wars caused carriers to stop flights are now receiving normal service after the situation came under control.

Analysts and consultants say that decisions on flights to routes are situation-based. Some airlines fly into certain destinations because the airport is safe and secure but not the country.

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