SITA will make its Digital Travel Declaration solution – which allows passengers to share required travel and health documentation with governments ahead of travel – available to governments free of charge globally. The company says this is aimed at addressing the challenge of submitting and verifying health documentation which remains a major impediment to the recovery of the global travel industry.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced a moderate rebound in air travel in September 2021 compared to August’s performance. This was driven by recovery in domestic markets, in particular China, where some travel curbs were lifted following the Covid-19 outbreaks in August. International demand slipped slightly compared to the previous month.
Total demand for air travel in September 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 53.4% compared to September 2019. This was up from August, when demand was 56.0% below August 2019 levels.
The Australian Government’s latest announcement on reopening is a is a step forward, but more can still be done,’ according to Philip Goh, International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s ) regional vice president for Asia Pacific.
‘The announcement of the November timeline and the removal of the international arrival caps are positive steps forward.
‘The reduction of quarantine period and introduction of home quarantine for vaccinated Australians are also steps in the right direction. We welcome the use of rapid antigen tests for international travel.’
Just released airline industry statistics have confirmed what we already know – 2020 was the worst year on record for the industry.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released the IATA World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) publication with performance figures for 2020 demonstrating the devastating effects on global air transport during that year of the Covid-19 crisis.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports passenger demand performance for June 2021 showed a slight improvement in both international and domestic air travel markets. Demand remains significantly below pre-Covid-19 levels owing to international travel restrictions.
Total demand for air travel in June 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 60.1% compared to June 2019. That was a small improvement over the 62.9% decline recorded in May 2021 versus May 2019.
International passenger demand in June was 80.9% below June 2019, an improvement from the 85.4% decline recorded in May 2021 versus two years ago. All regions with the exception of Asia-Pacific contributed to the slightly higher demand.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has branded the European Commission’s (EC) decision to set the winter slot use threshold at 50% as ‘out of touch with reality’. It argues that the EC had ignored the advice and evidence presented by EU member states and the airline industry, which had made the case for a much lower threshold.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that both international and domestic travel demand showed marginal improvements in May 2021, compared to the prior month. However it adds that recovery in international traffic in particular continues to be stymied by extensive government travel restrictions.
Moves by Spain, France and other European states to carefully open borders are a step in the right direction, but restoring global connectivity requires far more than regional or individual state initiatives, according to the International Air Transport Association.
The G20 has endorsed a data-driven approach to managing the risks of Covid-19 while re-opening borders.
‘Connectivity needs countries at both ends of the journey to be open. Many of the world’s largest air travel markets, such Australia, China, the UK, Japan, and Canada remain essentially closed with no clear plans to guide a reopening,’ says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.
‘Data should help these and other countries to introduce targeted policies that keep populations safe while moving towards a normality in a world with Covid-19 for some time to come,’
France, Spain's steps welcomed
IATA has welcomed the relaxation of Covid-19 border measures for vaccinated passengers, and the broader use of affordable antigen testing adopted by Spain and France last week.
However, the association says this is tempered by ongoing disappointment at the failure to implement harmonised measures across Europe and deep frustration at the lack of coordination among governments worldwide for a data-driven risk-managed approach to re-establishing the freedom to travel.
Spain has opened its borders to most vaccinated travelers from around the world and allowed EU travelers to enter the country with a negative antigen test. Passengers from low-risk countries (including the UK) can enter without any restrictions.
From 9 June France opened to vaccinated travellers from all but those countries assessed as high risk. Vaccinated travelers from medium-risk countries will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 antigen or PCR test, and unvaccinated people must still self-isolate for seven days.
‘It’s encouraging to see more European countries taking steps to reopen borders,’ says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. ‘They recognise the opportunity created by vaccination and are making travel more affordable with the use of antigen testing. But this approach is not universal across the continent. Many European states have yet to significantly relax borders at all. This fragmentation should be replaced with a unified approach that is consistent with the recommendations of the EU to which they belong. People, businesses and economies would all benefit from greater alignment across Europe in relaxing measures and restoring the freedom to travel.’
Global air passenger numbers are expected to recover to 88% of pre-Covid-19 levels in 2022, according to a long term forecast released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Tourism Economics. This follows what is likely to be a 52% recovery in 2021.
The organisations predict the damage of the Covid-19 crisis will be felt for years to come but say people have retained their desire and need to travel.
The report notes that consumers have accumulated savings in the lockdowns, in some cases exceeding 10% of GDP. Vaccination rates in developed countries (with the notable exception of Japan) should exceed 50% of the population by the third quarter of 2021.
Air New Zealand will trial the digital Travel Pass app developed by International Air Transport Association (IATA) on its Auckland-Sydney route in April. The carrier's chief digital officer Jennifer Sepull says the goal is to enable customers to seamlessly manage their digital travel documentation throughout their travel experience.