Leading figures in the Middle East’s aviation community have come together to discuss how airlines, airports, OEMs, regulators and other stakeholders can work together to reinstate passenger confidence in a market decimated by ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

Aviation Business’s socially distanced roundtable, entitled Restoring Customer Confidence in Air Travel, was one of the first physical events to have taken place in the aviation sector in months.

“The entire aviation industry globally shares a huge challenge and should set aside competition and rally around a multi-channel campaign that targets governments and consumers,” said Linus Bauer, founder and managing director of Bauer Aviation Advisory, which sponsored last week’s event.

He said the proposed campaign should address the three main issues impacting travel – easing travel restrictions, rapid testing and promoting visible safety changes during the travel journey to provide reassurance.

Linus Bauer was joined by Bernie Dunn, president of Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey; Laila Hareb Almheiri, CEO, Alive Group; Adel Ali, CEO, Air Arabia; George Fenergi, VP, business transformation, SITA; and Sam Chui, aviation blogger, samchui.com.

Adel Ali said at the event that aviation still qualifies as the safest mode of transport.

“I just want to reassure everyone. The only way to get that confidence is to get on an aeroplane, travel, and feel it. And then once you’ve done it, you want to do it more.”

The influential group agreed that while industry stakeholders have worked incredibly hard in recent weeks they will have to continue to lobby governments to roll out quicker Covid-19 testing and ease quarantine and border restrictions.

One of the group’s core messages was that the aviation industry must be consistent in its communication to passengers, which means companies must set aside competition and differences until the sector emerges from the crisis.

The full write-up of the roundtable will be published on aviationbusinessme.com soon.