IATA warns governments stalling global travel: ’There is much at stake and no time to lose’
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has expressed frustration at governments whose borders remain closed.
IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac called this “immensely frustrating”, especially since this was hindering aviation's recovery.
De Juniac shared his thoughts at IATA’S media briefing on Tuesday, September 1.
“Borders are largely closed. And government management of travel restrictions is so unpredictable and uncoordinated that people are still not flying. For the industry, this is immensely frustrating. It is also frustrating for travellers who cannot see family and loved ones, do business or take a break. And it is tragic for the growing numbers of unemployed whose livelihoods are being destroyed,” he said during the briefing.
De Juniac said there has been much effort to show destinations that flying is safe, especially with the support from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and with the support of the World Health Organization.
He said while many countries have implemented guidelines for the aviation sector, there is no coordination to manage the reopening of borders.
“Quarantine measures, in particular, are keeping aviation, travel and tourism effectively in lockdown. We understand and completely agree that the top priority for everybody in this crisis is the health and safety of citizens. But we believe that there are alternative measures that will keep people safe and enable global connectivity. That is why today we are proposing a three-point plan to safely re-open borders.
“Governments should implement the ICAO Take-off Guidelines universally, build on the solid work of ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) by developing an agreed common framework for states to use in coordinating the safe reopening of their borders to aviation, and develop Covid-19 testing measures,” he said.
He said IATA will work with governments, medical experts and testing manufacturers to accelerate proposals specifically focused on using Covid-19 testing to rebuild confidence, reopen borders, re-start aviation, re-charge demand and restore jobs.
"There is much at stake and no time to lose."
De Juniac added that the challenges of a global pandemic will not be solved by governments acting in isolation.
"The protocols are established for safe flight. Now governments must take the next step with coordinated global leadership to manage the risks of opening borders. With testing, technology, science and determination, borders can be re-opened and the world can start moving again," he said.