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Many airlines will go under, warns Al Baker

Many airlines will go under, warns Al Baker

Tribune News Network Doha Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker has warned that many airlines will go down under by the time the COVID-19 pandemic is over. “By the time this pandemic is over, there will only be few airlines that are strong and will continue operating. A lot of other airlines will go under. And this will continue to happen, because we have not seen the worst of it over yet,” Al Baker told CNN’s Richard Quest in an interview. “So far, airlines left, right and center are closing down, stopping flying, or simply laying off vast numbers — 90 odd percent of international flight. Of course, the world’s major airlines are faring very badly in this current crisis. And the numbers are starting to really reflect exactly how bad the situation is,” he said, adding that “We had got into uncharted waters, not knowing what to do, where to start, what actions to take, and how to accommodate this big shock that the industry suddenly faced.” Al Baker warned that returning the airline industry to full strength should be a key priority to boost the global economic outlook. “If this pandemic prolongs for too long, this will completely destroy the world’s economy which is so dependent on airlines for delivering business, carrying freight around, and most importantly creating jobs,” he said. Al Baker showed CNN’s Richard Quest the safety precautions that the airline is taking at Hamad International Airport in Doha and on board its planes. These include hi-tech temperature sensors, ultraviolet disinfectant processes, and mask-wearing on flights. “I can assure you as the CEO of an airline, my biggest priority is to protect my passengers and my crew. All the precautions we have taken and the measures we take, infections on airplanes is minimal,” he said. Al Baker also spoke about access to vaccinations and mitigating the risks amid slow vaccine rollouts in some countries. “It will be a problem for the aviation industry. And we will have to work a way within this risks that we will have to take. But we will have to do things, we’ll have to put processes, we’ll have to put systems in place to mitigate that risk,” he added.