As the aviation sector readies for take-off again, some experts assert that certain measures currently in place will significantly stifle the rate of recovery.
Speaking at a CAPA Centre for Aviation masterclass, Alexandre de Juniac, director general & CEO, IATA, opined that the 14-day quarantine measure for foreign arrivals – currently instituted in as many as 150 countries – poses a “complete destruction of air travel”.
He expressed: “With published guidelines for health control and sanitisation for passengers, it is absolutely useless to have any quarantine measures. We are now strongly against them.”
de Juniac’s assertion references ICAO’s recently-released “Takeoff: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis”, an authoritative and comprehensive framework detailing a series of risk-based measures for air transport operations during the Covid-19 crisis.
Tourism bigwigs have rallied behind the Takeoff guidelines. IATA has joined hands with Airports Council International to develop a manual that can help airports and airlines integrate ICAO’s guidelines into their own operational manuals. As well, IATA will develop a certification to ensure that aviation players are properly implementing the guidelines.
In addition, WTTC is pushing its member states to implement and work with the ICAO guidelines. Gloria Guevara, CEO & president of WTTC, pressed that standardising such procedures is critical in rebuilding tourist confidence.
She said that transparent and consistent protocols across the entire travel journey is key to reviving trust in travel, much more than cheap airfares.
“Consumers want to know exactly what experience to expect, and (discrepancies) can create uncertainty. Looking to the past, after 9/11, travel took four-and-a-half years to fully recover because the governments didn’t work in a coordinated approach. (Customs clearance) standards were different around the world. That created uncertainty, which was one of the factors that impacted recovery,” Guevara added.
Standardised protocols could expedite the upswing of international travel, which she predicted could return as early as September 2020.
de Juniac forecasted that while 3Q2020 will see an expansion of domestic travel and restarting of continental markets, 4Q2020 will possibly see the return of intercontinental travel. He anticipated that by year-end, the volume of air traffic will reach 50 to 60 per cent of 2019’s numbers.