If you are still holding on to your vacation plans to another country, here’s a bummer from IATA. International Air Transport Association has said that international air travel is unlikely to return to normalcy before 2023.
The international air travel may somewhat resume in the coming months but not to its full capacities. Furthermore, IATA warns that in case of a second wave of COVID-19, air travel may take up to 2024 to reach its pre-pandemic normal of 2019.
Moreover, it also noted that air traffic is likely to suffer further due to the new guidelines issued to curb the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing norms to leave middle seats empty can significantly hit their revenues. Additionally, lack of consensus on requisite protections against COVID-19 will be yet another challenge in the restoration process.
IATA has predicted that the RPKs may drop to around 4 billion per annum from 8 billion per annum in 2020. The RPKs or the revenue passenger-kilometers are a standard measure to calculate the volume of passengers carried by an airline in a year.
Most airlines around the world have already reported distress and are struggling to sustain in the pandemic crisis. Many airline firms have also asked for state support to survive the crisis. For instance, Virgin Atlantic British Airways has asked for a commercial loan of £500 million from the Britain government. Furthermore, the company may also lay off over 3000 of its employees to sustain the business.
Resuming International Air Travel
However, on the brighter side, some governments may permit and facilitate international air travel, though not to their full scale yet. Notably, Greece is reportedly considering letting tourists enter the country without having to quarantine from next month. Moreover, Emirates has also announced to resume its flights to nine destinations. Furthermore, Ryanair may also restore 40 percent of its scheduled flights from July 1.
While international air travel may not return to Pre-COVID normal anytime soon, resuming operations may help the industry to somewhat reduce its losses. But, the aircrafts will largely fly on selected international routes only. Furthermore, passengers will be required to undertake the COVID-19 tests and as well as weeks-long quarantine.
South Korea and China have also opened a few travel corridors limited to Seoul and 10 Chinese regions. Moreover, New Zealand and Australia may also resume air travel between the two countries. Furthermore, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia had also announced to lift travel restrictions between the three earlier this month.
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While the airlines desperately try to survive and sustain the business, reopening borders also present their own risk. Furthermore, lifting quarantine requirements can rapidly escalate the matter. Several nations have already witnessed a significant spike in COVID-19 cases on returns from global hotspots.
The large probabilities of asymptomatic patients and carriers further add to the risk as the novel virus continues to spread across the world. International Civil Aviation Organization will issue guidelines for international travel by May end to avoid confusion and minimise risk.