Coronavirus: International air travel may not return to normal until 2023, says IATA

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The damage done to the international air travel industry may extend until 2023 with most travelers saying they are likely to restrict their initial travel to domestic journey, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA released a new analysis that predicted that global passenger traffic will not rebound to pre-COVID-19 crisis levels until at least 2023, adding that passenger demand in 2021 will be 24 percent lower than 2019 and 32 percent lower than its own forecast made in October 2019.

“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,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said in the report.

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A survey conducted in April 2020 by IATA found that 58 percent of recent travelers said they are somewhat or very likely to restrict their initial travel to domestic journeys.

“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. This makes globally agreed and implemented biosecurity standards for the travel process all the more critical. We have a small window to avoid the consequences of uncoordinated unilateral measures that marked the post-9.11 period. We must act fast,” de Juniac added.

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In its recommendation, IATA said it strongly urges governments to find alternatives to maintaining or introducing arrival quarantine measures as part of post-coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions. According to IATA’s April survey, 86 percent of travelers were somewhat or very concerned about being quarantined while traveling while 69 percent said they would not consider traveling if it involved a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

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