Recovery from COVID-19 cannot happen in isolation, says IATA

The International Airport Transport Association has called on governments to open borders in a bid to save the ailing airline industry.
By: | September 2, 2020

Closing borders and attempting to fight a global pandemic in isolation is simply not a feasible option, suggested Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of the International Airport Transport Association (IATA).

With the IATA calling on governments to work together to urgently find ways to re-establish global connectivity by re-opening borders and to continue with relief measure to sustain airlines during COVID-19, de Juniac added, “It’s 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.”

In July 2020, international traffic was 91.9% below 2019 levels, with the global aviation industry potentially facing a loss of US$84 billion in 2020. The IATA estimates that 10% of the global economy is sustained by travel and tourism, and insists that borders can be safely opened because of the availability of global protocols.

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For instance, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (IACO) Take-off guidance, developed by governments through the leadership of the IACO, and supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), covers all aspects of the passenger journey and recommends sanitary measures to keep travelers safe and reduce the risk of importing infection.

The IATA is also proposing ‘travel bubbles’ to mitigate risks between specific markets and foresees a much wider and strategic use of COVID-19 testing as technology improves accuracy, speed and scalability.

de Juniac concluded, “No government wants to import COVID-19. Equally, no government should want to see the economic hardships and associated health impacts of mass unemployment.

Successfully getting though this crisis requires careful risk-management with effective measures. If government policies focus on enabling a safe re-start, aviation is well-prepared to deliver.”