Aviation sector begs Ramaphosa to announce reopening of international borders during tonight's address
The aviation industry wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to open international borders and get the economy back on track.
Ramaphosa will address the nation on September 16 at 7pm.
The Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA), representing foreign carriers, and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) representing local and regional airlines, warn that more than half of the 472 000 South African jobs in aviation, tourism and associated sectors, will be lost if international travel and tourism remains shut.
CEO BARSA at Zuks Ramasia said the opening the borders is crucial to the economy’s recovery and future growth.
“We have successfully flattened the Covid-19 infection curve and we are ready to implement the agreed global measures to enable the safe resumption of international air travel. Having saved lives now is the time to save livelihoods.
“With about US$9.4-billion or 3.2 percent of GDP supported by air travel and tourism, opening the borders is crucial to the economy’s recovery and future growth. We need to demonstrate that South Africa is open and safe for business and leisure travel. If we don’t get people flying again, the economy will be severely hampered,” she said.
AASA CEO Chris Zweigenthal said about 270 000 South African aviation and associated travel and tourism-related jobs are at risk due to the closure of international travel and tourism.
"The lack of international directly affects the viability and sustainability of our airports, air navigation and airspace management, meteorological and aviation safety oversight infrastructure services as well as businesses of all sizes across the entire value chain. Without flights and passengers, there is no revenue, which means no jobs, no spending in the local economy and an even deeper shortfall in tax revenues to enable Government to keep the actual and proverbial lights on.
“Mr President, open the borders and empower the officials so they can put the necessary resources in place so that we can get back to work and contribute to repairing the economy before the damage is permanent,” said Zweigenthal.