International Air Transport Association (IATA)) reported that demand in national air transport - compared to March - in April 2021 increased, but still remains well below the figures from the pre-pandemic period. The recovery of international air passenger traffic remains stagnant due to restrictions imposed by individual states.
Continuing a strong recovery in domestic, national markets tells us that people will seize the opportunity for air travel, if given the opportunity, he said. Willie Walsh, leader IATA and added: “Unfortunately, this freedom of travel is still not present in many international markets. When it returns, I am sure that we will record an upward trend in demand in this segment as well"
Also, Walsh stressed that indications are that COVID-19 is becoming endemic, so governments and the airline industry must work together to rebuild global connectivity, while effectively managing the risks associated with the disease. "Re-establishing freedom of travel in a safe way, and reconnecting countries, will boost economic growth and create new jobs," he pointed out Walsh.
In that sense IATA welcomed the easing of COVID-19 travel restriction measures for vaccinated passengers, as well as the wider use of more accessible antigen testing in some EU Member States.
However, this positive development is still overshadowed by the failure to implement harmonized measures across Europe, as well as dissatisfaction with the lack of coordination among countries around the world, which would restore freedom of travel with a data-based approach and risk management effectively.
"It is encouraging to see more and more European countries open their borders. They recognize the opportunity created by vaccinating the population, and travel becomes i more accessible using antigenic tests. But such an approach is not universal across the continent. Many European countries have yet to make significant concessions to border regimes. Current fragmentation should be replaced by a unified approach that is in line with EU recommendations, to which those countries belong. People, businesses and economies across Europe would benefit from better compliance in easing measures and restoring freedom of travel, ” notes Willie Walsh.
Re-establishing global connectivity requires much more than regional or individual country-specific initiatives. A consistent approach across Europe is essential if EU digital certificate on COVID wants to implement effectively by July 1st. Likewise, in the rest of the world, it is necessary to allow the integration of digital certificates into applications for travelers - such as IATA Travel Pass-a - with the aim of reducing the pressure on airports and border crossings as the number of passengers increases.
"Good connectivity requires states to be open at both ends of the journey. Some of the world's largest air transport markets, such as Australia, China, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada, are basically still closed and there are no clear plans to manage their reopening, ” He said Walsh.
It's about that IATA called for a more global approach to solving the problem, stressing that the G7 meeting was an important opportunity for the leaders of those countries to launch a coordinated approach to re-establishing global air connectivity. But even though it is IATA had high hopes that the meeting, held last weekend in Cornwall, England, would set the framework for restoring freedom of travel, the British Travel Weekly reports that the leaders of the G7 member states "Missed a key opportunity" to really do it.