IATA bemoans delay in air transport recovery due to Government imposed travel restrictions, calls for harmonization of Covid-19 entry regulations

The extenuating government imposed travel restrictions has been identified by IATA as a bane to the convalescence of the international air travel. This revelation was comprehensively expounded in the IATA’s latest passenger traffic report.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the largest trade association of world airlines representing the interests of nearly 300 airlines which comprises well over 80 percent of global air traffic.

A statement released by the Montreal based body noted that extensive government imposed travel restrictions were delaying recovery in international markets. The report showed that the total demand for air travel in July of 2021 was down by 53.1 percent compared to the pre-Covid levels of July 2019. Air travel demand is quantified in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs). The use of the month of July as a cardinal reference is a based on its reflection on the eagerness of people to travel during the Northern Hemisphere summer.

IATA further noted that domestic travel was at around 85 percent of the pre-Covid levels but International demand had only recovered just over 25% of the 2019 parameters. Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, noted that border control measures are responsible for the lag in international travel recovery. He stressed that the decisions of Governments were not data driver with particular reference to the “efficacy” of vaccines. He stated that the recovery of International markets is contingent on the restoration of freedoms to travel by governments and recommended that vaccinated travelers should not have to face restrictions.

Digital COVID Certificate (source: techcrunch)

In a separate development, IATA has warned that the failure of the European Union member states to harmonize Covid-19 entry regulations is compromising free movement within the European continent. This has reportedly culminated in a drawdown of the anticipated benefits in the reopening of borders as travellers and business are left confused.

Rafael Schwartzman, the IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe, opined that it was exigent for European nations to synchronize their travel procedures in order not to waste the efforts of the commission in the development of the Digital COVID Certificate (DCC).

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