IATA: Travelers regaining interest to fly

Published March 10, 2021, 3:52 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Air travelers are regaining confidence to fly again, accepting the use of travel apps to manage their health credentials but remain hobbled by current travel restrictions.

This was the result of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s latest poll released last night (March 9).

“People want to get back to travel, but quarantine is the showstopper,” according to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Majority, 88 per cent of respondents, believed that when opening borders, the right balance must be struck between managing COVID-19 risks and getting the economy going again.

Furthermore, 85 per cent believed that governments should set COVID-19 targets (such as testing capacity or vaccine distribution) to re-open borders.

Interestingly, 84 per cent believed that COVID-19 will not disappear so its risks should be managed while living and traveling normally.

A good 68 per cent agreed that their quality of life has suffered with travel restrictions while 49 per cent thought that air travel restrictions have gone too far.

People feel frustrated with the loss of freedom to travel, with 68 percent of respondents indicating their quality of life is suffering as a result.

Travel restrictions come with health, social and economic consequences.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents reported mental stress and missing an important human moment as a result of travel restrictions.

Over a third have said that restrictions prevent them from doing business normally.

“The top priority of everybody at the moment is staying safe amid the COVID-19 crisis,” noted IATA’s Director General.

“But it is important that we map a way to being able to re-open borders, manage risks and enable people to get on with their lives,” he argued.

“That includes the freedom to travel. It is becoming clear that we will need to learn to live and travel in a world that has COVID-19,” he stressed.

“Given the health, social and economic costs of travel restrictions, airlines should be ready to re-connect the world as soon as governments are able to re-open borders.”

“That’s why a plan with measurable milestones is so critical. Without one, how can we be prepared for restart without an unnecessary delay?”

Most survey respondents, 57%, expect to be traveling within two months of the pandemic being contained (improved from 49% in September 2020).

Also, 72% want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible (improved from 63% in September 2020).

And 81% believe that they will be more likely to travel once they are vaccinated.

However, 84% said they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at destination (largely unchanged from 83% in September 2020)

Add to that, 56% believe that they will postpone travel until the economy stabilizes (improved from 65% in September 2020)