Reopening the world’s airways after Covid-19 will be drawn-out process, Emirates boss Sir Tim Clark has predicted.
Clark said it would take until next year for the airline industry to return “to some sort of normality”.
Speaking during an Arabian Travel Market virtual event, the Emirates Airline president said the pace of recovery would be less than ideal.
“Planning for resumption is quite complicated, needless to say, we have a 24/7 watch on it as countries start to relax their access requirements, but I see some difficulties as I don’t believe they will open at the pace we would like.
"I think there will be a degree of what they started to call the bubble effect, i.e. countries selecting other countries that are relatively Covid-free and therefore allowing services between those countries.”
“We’ve seen the beginning of this and until we get much more clarity on quarantine, flight protocols and how airports are going to handle these passengers when they eventually get moving, it’s still early days in terms of understanding what is going to happen.”
Clark predicted there would be casualties among his rivals unless they were given some form of financial support.
“Otherwise, I’m not optimistic that some of the carriers here today, having already been significantly bailed out, will get through the next few months.”
He added he had never seen anything like the “$15 trillion torpedo” to the global economy in 35 years of working in the industry, but remained optimistic:
“My own belief is there is sufficient resilience in the global economy to take this trauma as long as it doesn’t go on for too long.
“If we can accept there is a finite point where we will see the back of this, with adjustments to the way we go about our lives, the way we go about our business, and our travel aspirations, we will see things moving back to some kind of normality during the course of 2021.”