IATA: Quarantine will hurt air travel

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IATA is urging governments to find alternatives to quarantine measures, warning it will hurt air travel.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) made the warning as it released data showing the damage COVID-19 is causing to the air travel industry.

In its baseline scenario, IATA warned that global passenger demand in 2021 is likely to be 24% lower than 2019 levels and demand will not recover until 2023.

International markets will grow from the 2020 low point, but demand measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) in 2025 will be 10% lower than the previous forecast.

IATA’s pessimistic scenario predicts lockdowns will remain in place until the third quarter of this year, which could keep global RPKs in 2021 down 34% on their 2019 levels.

Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA, said, “Major stimulus from governments combined with liquidity injections by central banks will boost the economic recovery once the pandemic is under control. But rebuilding passenger confidence will take longer. And even then, individual and corporate travelers are likely to carefully manage travel spend and stay closer to home.”

IATA says governments must find alternatives to quarantine measures warning it will stop people from flying.

In its April survey of recent air travelers, IATA found 86% were somewhat or very concerned about being quarantined while traveling and 69% would not consider traveling if it involved a 14-day quarantine period.

De Juniac said, “We need a solution for safe travel that addresses two challenges. It must give passengers confidence to travel safely and without undue hassle. And it must give governments confidence that they are protected from importing the virus.”

IATA proposes a temporary risk-based approach including preventing travel by those with symptoms and working with governments to create a system of health declarations and contact tracing.

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