SINGAPORE: In the past two years during the pandemic, many people have left the aviation industry – some laid off, some by their own volition – and they may not return.
This has made staffing the “biggest headwind” for the sector that is on the mend, regional vice-president for Asia Pacific at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Philip Goh, told CNA.
“A particular concern, of course, is skilled labour. It takes time to train people,” he said. In customer service, for instance, it takes time and experience to learn how to handle people, he said.
If resources like manpower cannot keep pace, airlines will have limitations as to how much capacity they can put back, he said.
“As long as capacity cannot revert to normal then you will continue to probably face high load factors, maybe high airfares,” he said.
“So hopefully, airlines … airports are able to find the resources they need to ramp up so that they can staff their operations adequately.”
RECOVERY ON TRACK ALTHOUGH ASIA PACIFIC LAGGING
Recovery of the global aviation industry is “on track”, Mr Goh said.
This is despite the projection that the global aviation industry will lose about US$9.7 billion this year. In Asia Pacific, this figure is expected to be about US$8.9 billion, Mr Goh said.
“As of July, we are seeing air traffic already at about 75 per cent of 2019 levels. This is of course driven a lot by the domestic recovery,” he said.