Economy

Quarantine measures make slow recovery more difficult: IATA

Quarantine measures make slow recovery more difficult: IATA”

It would take at least 5 years for overseas air traveL to return, with 2025 still expected to be 10% below peak 2019 levels. "Our proposal is for a layering of temporary non-quarantine measures until we have a vaccine, immunity passports or almost instant COVID-19 testing available at scale". Juniac revealed that plans are in the works to reboot global travel in stages, by firstly tending to domestic travel, followed by continental markets (the Asia-Pacific region), with the intent to resume 50 per cent of flights by the end of 2020.

IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said: "We think that COVID's effects on air travel are certainly going to last for a number of years, with no quick rebounds to 2019 levels unlike the current forecast for GDP".

"There is now no single measure that could mitigate all the risks of restarting air travel", the document concluded.

An IATA survey of recent air travellers conducted in April 2020 found that 58 per cent are somewhat or very likely to restrict their initial travel to domestic journeys.

In a separate statement made on the IATA website, Mr de Juniac said mandatory quarantine would be a major barrier for the industry to overcome.

Under a pessimistic scenario, there would be a slower opening of economies and relaxation of travel restrictions, with lockdowns extending into quarter three, possibly due to a second wave of the virus.

"CART has a very big job to do with little time to waste".

In a virtual media briefing on Wednesday, IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said, "This week we have seen the United Kingdom announce a mandatory 14-day quarantine as part of its plans when easing its lockdown".

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"And it must build confidence among governments that borders can be opened to travellers because a layered approach of measures has been properly implemented globally".

In this case, global revenue passenger kilometres in 2021 could be 34 per cent lower than 2019 levels and 41 per cent below the previous forecast for 2021.

Should health-screening measures be necessary, it should be done long before passengers arrive at the airport, the document said.

In March, domestic travel fell to 34.1 million passengers, from March 2019 when airlines carried 69.6 million passengers global travel fell from 9.9 million in March 2019 to 4.6 million passengers in March as the administration imposed restrictions on travelers from China and Europe.

"The impacts of the crisis on long-haul travel will be much more severe and of a longer duration than what is expected in domestic markets. IATA and the whole industry support this critical work", de Juniac said.

"However, we believe that an effective implementation on an outcome basis and layered approach, of the above-mentioned range of measures that are already possible, represents the most effective way of balancing risk mitigation with the need to unlock economies and to enable travel in the immediate term". We have a small window to avoid the consequences of uncoordinated unilateral measures that marked the post-9/11 period. We must act fast.

IATA is urging governments around the world to find an alternative to quarantine measures, saying that if travellers are told they need to quarantine even once borders reopen, air travel will stay just as stagnant and suffer the same losses as when borders were closed.

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