In 1944, following the scale of participation in the second World War by airborne arsenal,52 nations met in Chicago to plan for international cooperation in post-war times. Then, as in the recent past, thousands of aircraft lay strewn at as many airports, after the war drums went silent. Aviation experts were holed up in Chicago discussing cooperation and coordination as tenets of the industry’s future.
Decades later, the industry was in shock following the terrorist attack in USA in 2001 Terrorists turned civil aircraft into weapons of mass destruction. The volcanic ash of 2010 in Iceland was however billed as the more disruptive since World War II. Close to 95,000 flights were cancelled, affecting 10 million passengers in one week. The Airline industry lost £1.1billion in revenue.
Then the Coronavirus rudely interrupted the industry’s growth trajectory. Declared a global pandemic on 11 March, 2020, by the World Health Organisation, Covid-19 led to airlines and airports suspending operations on a grand scale. The resilient industry re-started in September on guidance by local regulators in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO and WHO. In all cases, cooperation and coordination were key to recovery.
Uganda re-opened Entebbe International Airport on 1 October, 2020. This followed agreement on SOPs between the aviation authority and stakeholders. The country beemed with hope. Travellers sighed with relief.
In the first month of operation however, 30 cases of forgery of COVID-test certificates were reported! This put the industry at risk. Any flaws in the system could be fatal. Through cooperation and coordination, the vice can be stopped and confidence restored. Covid-19 is still a threat to aviation and to humanity. Its fight calls for concerted effort.
Unless the traveling public exercises a high level of responsibility, efforts by Government, Airlines and UCAA could be put to waste, leading to another most undesirable lockdown. Nnyonyi Magazine urges for coordination between stakeholders and cooperation from the traveling and general public. Only then shall we know how to deal with the virus and return the industry to normal.
Editor-in-chief, Nnyonyi Magazine