The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to work together to urgently find ways to re-establish global connectivity by re-opening borders and to continue with relief measures to sustain airlines during the Covid-19 crisis.
IATA’s call reflects deep industry frustration as government policies such as closed borders, travel restrictions and quarantines continue to annihilate travel demand.
This was evident in a disappointing “peak (Northern Hemisphere) summer travel season” that saw minimal improvements compared to the May-June period, as four in five potential travelers stayed home, based on comparisons with the year-ago period.
• Total July traffic was 79.8% below 2019 levels
• International traffic in July was 91.9% below 2019 levels
IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said, “Protecting their citizens must be the top priority of governments. But too many governments are fighting a global pandemic in isolation with a view that closing borders is the only solution. It’s time for governments to work together to implement measures that will enable economic and social life to resume, while controlling the spread of the virus.” Specifically, IATA calls for governments to grasp the seriousness of the crisis facing the airline industry and its consequences for their citizens; and IATA urges governments to focus their attention on these key issues- re-opening borders, continuing relief measures and global leadership.
De Juniac noted, “Governments have co-operated to set the guidelines for a safe re-start of aviation. But they have not cooperated to actually make a re-start happen. That’s why 90% of international flying has stopped. The demand is there. When borders open without quarantine, people fly. But there is too much uncertainty in how governments are managing the situation for passengers to re-build the confidence to travel.
In fact, what is killing aviation is the fact that governments are not managing the risks of opening borders. Instead, they are keeping global mobility effectively in lockdown. And if this continues the damage to global connectivity could become irreparable, which will generate its own severe consequences for economies and public health.
The global protocols for safely re-starting aviation are agreed and no industry is as experienced in successfully implementing global safety programmes as aviation. But we need governments to take on the leadership to manage risks and adopt a mindset of not being defeated by this virus. Then, with testing, technology, science and determination we can re-open borders and get the world moving again,” said de Juniac.
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