How airlines can rebuild passengers' confidence post Covid-19
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Stepping into an aircraft may be tempting to many, but daunting to others. Following the coronavirus pandemic, many may skip travel until they feel it's safe to do so. As airlines need to fill seats as travel restrictions ease globally, they have to build passenger's confidence. Speaking at the Hong Kong Tourism Board Global Online Forum this week, The CEO of the International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac emphasised the importance of gaining a passenger's confidence. He said there were many reasons why the passenger demand dropped following the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Passenger demand has collapsed. Part of that is because people are afraid to travel. Part of that is because borders are not open. And a further element is that, even when borders are open, governments are imposing quarantines.
"The result is that planes, hotels, convention centers, attractions, and restaurants are empty. And recovery will be slow and financially painful. I cannot emphasise how critical passenger confidence is. It will be a big challenge, " he said.
De Juniac said that in March about 60% of travellers said they would return to travel within a few months of the pandemic coming under control. By early June that figure dropped to 45%.
He offered a solution. "Communicating the measures that we have is key. We are doing that as IATA, and we are working across the industry to send an aligned message. This includes the important topic of cabin air. "There are several reasons that travellers can be reassured. For example, Some cabin factors naturally limit the spread of droplets, ie everyone is facing forward and air circulates from top to bottom. On top of that, the quality of the air onboard is much better than most indoor environments. For example, HEPA filters in modern aircraft ensure that recirculated air is similar to what you would find in a hospital operating theatre," he said. De Juniac added that bio-safety measures from the Take-off guidance like mask-wearing should also rebuild passenger confidence to travel.