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The Implication Of Omicron Variant On Airlines In Nigeria (Case Study Of Public Perception)

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Coronaviruses are a kind of virus that infects both animals and humans. They are members of the coronaviridae family (Chinedu Eze 2021). Human coronaviruses can cause mild illness akin to a common cold, but others can cause serious illness (such as mers – middle east respiratory syndrome and sars – severe acute respiratory syndrome). In december 2019, a novel coronavirus that has not before been identified in humans surfaced in Wuhan, china (Gilbertson 2021).

Respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath are signs and symptoms. Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale (2021) opined that in more severe situations, infection can result in pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and, in extreme cases, death. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, standard recommendations include frequent hand washing with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, covering the nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough (Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale 2021).

Gilbertson (2021) opined that several coronavirus variations have arisen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as the virus, SARS-CoV-2, continues to change and adapt. Many of the changes in these variations have little or no effect on how the virus affects humans. However, additional factors, such as genetic modifications in the delta variant, can make the coronavirus more transmissible (contagious) than the initial version of SARS-CoV-2 found in late 2019. According to  (Anyu Liu 2021), The World Health Organization dubbed omicron after a version of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that appeared in November 2021. The omicron is now listed as a variation of concern by the World Health Organization (Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale 2021). The rate of transmission of COVID 19 is worrisome especially with the emergence of new variants and this has affected several industries especially the aviation industry. Since the emergence of the omicron variant, Several countries have implemented travel restrictions on southern African countries, while Hong Kong and Canada have banned non-residents from visiting Nigeria. The Omicron form was found in fully vaccinated travelers who came from Nigeria last week, according to South Korea (Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale 2021).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its variants, an airborne illness, has been the largest game-changer in terms of pure devastation for both the aviation and tourist sectors to date. Even in the face of earlier global calamities, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and the global financial crisis of 2008, the aviation sector had seen persistent and extraordinary expansion in the preceding hundred years. Low airfares and a rising rich middle-class population have substantially transformed the dynamics of international travel, as indicated by the fact that air travel’s market share has risen since then (Amoke 2021).  Amoke (2021) further stressed that however, in early 2020, the aviation industry was drastically revolutionized by the breakout and following fast spread of COVID-19, which devastated the whole planet in a matter of months. People’s unwillingness to travel during a worldwide epidemic has had a negative influence on the aviation and tourist industries, in addition to the travel restrictions imposed by nations throughout the world. Tourists are more inclined to postpone or cancel their vacation plans to avoid being sick Liu (2021), and this is an attitude that is now established in the psyche of today’s tourists is the urge to avoid disease-affected places, which all impacts tourism results.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Since the emergence of the omicron variant, there has been travel bans from and to different countries. However, many experts, including the World Health Organization, have criticised the travel limitations as discriminatory as stated by Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale (2021). Prior to the emergence of the omicron variant, countries of the in the early phase of 2020 experience a deadly pandemic outbreak known as the Covid-19 virus that shut down the global economy ranging from the financial, educational, construction, tourism sectors, etc. This pandemic led to severe traveling ban all over the world, which was not a friendly one for the aviation industry. International travelling was banned, social gatherings and movement restrictions were imposed in different countries by different governments to help curb the spread of the pandemic (Eze 2021).

While still recovering from the effect of covid-19 pandemic menace, there comes another variant which has been recorded to be dreadful as most Covid 19 vaccines in the world have been reportedly ineffective on it. The Omicron variety was initially discovered in South Africa, and later found in various non-African nations, according to specialists (Dawn, 2021). This disease has generated travel ban from different nations which has a huge effect on airline. Global and Nigerian airlines voiced concern about the travel bans and flying limitations imposed by nations as they seek to avoid the spread of the Omicron variant (Eze 2021). Under the auspices of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the carriers warned that the looming interruption will set back the industry’s sluggish recovery, resulting in more losses for struggling airlines (Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale 2021). This study seeks to ascertain the implication of the omicron variant on airlines.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The primary objective of this study is to assess the implication of omicron variant on airlines in Nigeria. Other objectives of this study are:

  1. To examine whether the omicron variant will limit customer patronage of airlines due to flight restrictions.
  2. To examine whether omicron variant outbreak will limit importation and exportation due to flight restrictions.

iii.      To ascertain whether the omicron variant will reduce the profit margin of the aviation industry.

  1. To examine whether the flight restriction will have any negative effect on the economy of Nigeria.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. Will the omicron variant limit customer patronage of airlines due to flight restrictions?
  2. Will the omicron variant limit importation and exportation due to flight restrictions?

iii.      Will the omicron variant reduce the profit margin of the aviation industry?

  1. Will flight restriction have any negative effect on the economy of Nigeria?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will be greatly significant to the aviation industry as the findings of this study will show the implications, effects and the challenges of the omicron variant on airlines.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other scholars who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge concerning omicron variant of the COVID 19 and the aviation industry.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study will focus on the implication of omicron variant on airlines in Nigeria. It will also ascertain the relationship between omicron variant and the aviation industry, examine the effects of the omicron variant on importation and exportation due to flight restrictions, examine the effect of omicron variant on the economy due to flight restrictions and the effect of omicron variant on human movement due to flight restrictions.

This study will be using selected staff  and passengers of Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport as enrolled participants for the survey.

1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This study will be limited to the implication of omicron variant on airlines in Nigeria. It will also be limited to ascertain the relationship between omicron variant and the aviation industry, examine the effects of the omicron variant on importation and exportation due to flight restrictions, examine the effect of omicron variant on the economy due to flight restrictions and the effect of omicron variant on human movement due to flight restrictions.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other airlines, airports and other countries in the world.

1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Implications: the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Omicron variant: The Omicron variant is a variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It was first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa on 24 November 2021. On 26 November 2021, the WHO designated it as a variant of concern and named it after omicron, the fifteenth letter in the Greek alphabet

Airline: an organization providing a regular public service of air transport on one or more routes.

REFERENCES

Anyu Liu (2021). COVID-19 and the aviation industry: The interrelationship between the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the frequency of flights on the EU market Accessed from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8426192/

Chinedu Eze (2021). Nigeria: Aviation Industry’s Slow Recovery From Covid-19 Devastation. Accessed from: https://allafrica.com/stories/202107300148.html

Chong KC, Ying Zee BC. Modeling the impact of air, sea, and land travel restrictions

Dawn Gilbertson (2021): The omicron variant has sparked new travel restrictions. Are more COVID rules ahead?. Accessed from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2021/11/26/covid-travel-restrictions-omicron-white-house-ban-africa/8764805002/

Hollingsworth TD, Ferguson NM, Anderson RM. (2006) Will travel restrictions control the international spread of pandemic influenza? Nat Med.

Oluwatomisim Amoke (2021). Aviation industry flies up in post-COVID 19 resurgence. Accessed from: https://thenationonlineng.net/aviation-industry-flies-up-in-post-covid-19-resurgence/

Sola Ogundipe, Health Editor, Chioma Obinna, Joseph Erunke & Gabriel Olawale

             (2021) “Why travel bans won’t work”. Accessed from: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/11/why-travel-ban-wont-work-who-nids-nma/

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