According to IATA, aviation must be supported to keep the world connected
Its Managing Director & CEO affirmed that the sector will play a fundamental role in helping the world recover from COVID-19
Alexandre de Juniac, General Director & CEO of IATA issued a statement today where he reviews the situation in the sector and once again calls on the states to support the industry and review the restrictions applied in recent days. We share his statements below:
Airlines bring this same serious approach to safety in everything we do, including COVID-19. And that's one of the reasons why the slow progress of the crisis is so frustrating. We work tirelessly with governments to keep flights safe and reduce the risk of COVID-19 importation through travel with the implementation of ICAO CART's proposed recommendations to replace quarantine with COVID-19 testing. But, as Brian pointed out, the situation in the industry remains dangerous.
In fact, it got worse during the year-end vacation period.
While we still see airlines turn cash positive for the year, the near-term outlook is bleak. Instead of a boost from the year-end holiday period, we got even more restrictions. Governments tightened borders in an instinctive response to a mutation in the virus. Canada, the UK, Germany, Japan, and others added tests to their COVID-19 measures without removing quarantine requirements. In other words, they have chosen policy measures that will shut down travel.
This approach tells us that these governments are not interested in managing a balanced approach to COVID-19 risks. They seem to point to a world without COVID. This is an impossible task with serious consequences, the full extent of which would be impossible to calculate. But, with this approach, we know for sure that:
The travel and tourism economy will not recover.
Jobs will keep disappearing.
And the cost of confinement to people's mental health will continue to rise, particularly for those who are separated from their loved ones.
A more balanced public policy approach, one that is evidence-based as a replacement for quarantines, is needed so that we can begin to address the serious policy side effects of COVID-19.
Science tells us that travelers will not be a significant factor in community transmission if the tests are used effectively. But most governments have tunnel vision about quarantine and are not at all focused on finding ways to safely reopen borders, or alleviate the self-imposed economic and mental health hardships of closures.
There was good news during the holidays. We continue to prepare for the day when governments are ready to open borders, with tests or vaccines. The first IATA Travel Pass app pilot was launched in partnership with Singapore Airlines on routes to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. We are still on track for a full implementation of the application during the first quarter of this year.
I will conclude by repeating a quote from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. He emphasized the urgent need to start flying again saying that:
Aviation is a major driver of our world and will play a critical role in helping the world recover from COVID-19. Let's make sure you get the support you need to keep the nations of the world connected and united.