Angered IATA slams government travel measures

International Air Transport Association says policies are harming aviation recovery

International air transport association, Iata, COVID-19

Aviation authority International Air Transport Association (IATA) is becoming increasingly disappointed with government policies enacted to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Blanket-measures such as border closures, strict travel restrictions and quarantine periods are chipping away at the already low levels of demand for air travel.

“Protecting their citizens must be the top priority of governments,” said IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

“But too many governments are fighting a global pandemic in isolation with a view that closing borders is the only solution.”

De Juniac said it was time for governments to “work together to implement measures that will enable economic and social life to resume while controlling the spread of the virus.”

IATA’s call for harmonisation is one of many it has made since the outbreak of COVID-19 and follows an underperforming May-June period for the travel industry. Total July 2020 traffic was 80 percent below 2019 levels while international traffic in July 2020 was 92 percent below 2019 levels.

“Airlines have been largely grounded for a half-year,” de Juniac said. “And the situation is not improving. In fact, in many cases it is going in the wrong direction. We see governments replacing border closures with quarantine for air travellers. Neither will restore travel or jobs.

“Worse, governments are changing the entry requirements with little notice to travellers or coordination with their trading partners. This uncertainty destroys demand. Ten percent of the global economy is sustained by travel and tourism; governments need to do better to re-start it.”

Alternatively, the association is calling for ‘travel bubbles’ to spur demand between specific markets. It has also called for a greater investment into technology to speed up and simplify the COVID-19 testing process.

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