By Mohamed Attia
Air traffic around the world has begun coinciding with the decline in the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic; a remarkable recovery, which represents good outlook for the sector, suffering greatly as a result of the pandemic and even incurred billions of dollars in losses which is the worst damage to the civil aviation sector in its history.
Despite the remarkable state of recovery, the return of the movement to its pre-coronavirus levels will not be in a day and night, especially since the pandemic caused the suspension of 19,300 aircraft, which is an alarming number that calls for a re-maintenance of this huge number.
Airplanes do not simply return to work after a long layover, but rather need a lot of work and care during their downtime, from maintaining hydraulic motors and flight control systems as well as protecting them from insects and wildlife, especially the problem of bird nesting.
There is also the problem of moisture, which can corrode and damage the internal parts. Even when planes are parked on runways, they are often filled with fuel so they don’t sway in strong winds and to ensure that the fuel tanks are kept efficient.
Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi said its engineers are working around the clock to maintain its grounded fleet, in a process that includes running engines and planes on the ground, checking control mechanisms, and covering sensors and actuators to protect the interior from sand and dust.
Qantas Airways stated that the tires also need attention, noting that all Boeing Co. aircraft and Airbus SE A380 need to spin their wheels, by pulling them on the runway or lifting them in the air and spinning them, at least once every week or two, with hydraulic fluids on the landing gear to protect it from rust.
Giant silica packs are placed to absorb moisture inside the engines to keep them out dry, with all external openings on the fuselage covered to prevent entry of insects and nesting birds.
Jukka Glader, Finnair’s Vice President of Ground Operations, said the brakes are one of the biggest challenges they face in the grounding crisis.
He said each plane requires 10 to 12 chocks behind its wheels to keep them in place. With so many planes grounded at the same time, the Finnish airline ordered 500 wooden dowels from local carpentry workshops.
On the other hand, EgyptAir, headed by pilot Amr Abul-Enein, succeeded in testing coronavirus, as it was ready, whether in terms of technology in maintaining aircraft or rehabilitating pilots during the pause due to the pandemic. In fact, the company launched the Kinshasa line last March, in addition to the Dublin line in Ireland this June, which was opened a few days ago.
Dublin Airport authorities celebrated the operation of EgyptAir for its direct flights between Cairo and Dublin, in the presence of pilot Amr Nabil, Chairman of the Board of Directors of EgyptAir Airlines, Khaled Tharwat, Egypt’s ambassador to Ireland, and Sean Oregan, Ireland’s ambassador in Cairo.
The operation of this direct line comes within the framework of the directives of Minister of Civil Aviation pilot Mohamed Manar to expand the network of EgyptAir Airlines, which extends to more than 75 points around the world, and the national company’s ambitious plan to cover more destinations around the world to attract more air and tourist traffic to Egypt.
For his part, Pilot Nabil, Chairman of the Board of Directors of EgyptAir Airlines, praised the co-operation and support of the Dublin Airport authorities and their welcome to the landing of the planes of the national company, EgyptAir, on the land of the Irish capital, which enhances the movement of tourism and trade between the two countries, as well as the distinction of Ireland’s location in Western Europe, which makes the airport Dublin a strategic hub for travelers to all tourist destinations in Egypt.
Nabil stressed that all EgyptAir employees are doing their best to provide the best service to the company’s customers around the world with the highest standards of safety, quality and technology on board the company’s fleet.
He added that with the decline of the coronavirus pandemic, an initiative was launched to integrate beach and recreational tourism with the cultural tourism product by linking the cities of the Nile Valley with the Egyptian tourist cities to make it easier for the tourist to carry out beach and cultural tourism in one programme.