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Restarting air travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and  published a long-term view for post-COVID-19 passenger demand recovery. It assumes that people remain eager to travel in the short and long-term. This is partly based on the expected strength of domestic markets like China with large passenger numbers and shorter distances.

Optimism

The task of Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, is to demonstrate optimism: “I am always optimistic about aviation. We are in the deepest and gravest crisis in our history. But the rapidly growing vaccinated population and advancements in testing will return the freedom to fly in the months ahead. And when that happens, people are going to want to travel.

Challenges

“The immediate challenge,” says Walsh, “is to reopen borders, eliminate quarantine measures and digitally manage vaccination/testing certificates.” And he adds: “At the same time, we must assure the world that aviation’s long-term growth prospects are supported with an unwavering commitment to sustainability. Both challenges require governments and industry to work in partnership. Aviation is ready. But I don’t see governments moving fast enough.”

Walsh relies on China, as he says that “demand measured in revenue passenger kilometers is expected to grow an annual average of 3% between 2019 and 2039. This is owing to the expected strength of domestic markets like China with large passenger numbers and shorter distances.”

Growing vaccinated population

But there is also an objective reason for optimism. Walsh: “The rapidly growing vaccinated population and advancements in testing will return the freedom to fly in the months ahead. And when that happens, people are going to want to travel.”

Natural environment

Although he also says that “we must assure the world that aviation’s long-term growth prospects are supported with an unwavering commitment to sustainability,” it sounds like a duty call. It seems an isolated remark without any other reference to the natural environment and the damage that air travel does to it.

Related: COVID-19 and borders

Tags: restarting air travel, vaccinated population, natural environment

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