Airlines warn erratic global COVID-19 rules could delay recovery By Reuters
Rajesh Kumar Singh, Tim Hepher
BOSTON, (Reuters) – Global airlines have concluded their first meeting since COVID-19 shook their industry. While they expressed optimism regarding pent-up demand, they also urged governments to align disjointed borders rules in order to avoid slipping into recession.
International Air Transport Association (IATA), which includes 290 airlines, stated that confusion regarding travel restrictions is holding back the fragile industry’s recovery following the pandemic that plunged air travel to its worst-ever downturn.
People want to fly. “We’ve seen solid evidence that this is true,” stated Director General Willie Walsh. We have international travel restrictions which prevent them from flying.
IATA predicts that international travel will double in 2019 compared to the low levels during the pandemic. It also expects it to reach 44% pre-crisis levels. However, domestic travel will reach 93% of pre-pandemic levels.
According to the trade group that includes numerous state-owned airlines, this gap was caused by wide differences in testing and entry requirements for top-50 air travel markets.
Many of the leaders in the aviation and leasing industry were unable or unwilling to travel to Boston to attend this year’s gathering.
Although airlines called for the lifting of restrictions on travelers who have been vaccinated and common protocols for health at border crossings, global aviation coordination tends to be slow.
Joanna Geraghty of JetBlue, who hosted the event in a hotel that was shared with tourists from the country, stated, “Frankly the governments haven’t made it easy airlines and for the traveling public understand what the rules for flying are.”
The head of Dubai’s Emirates said that the bookings in markets that reopen like Britain or the United States have “risen exponentially”
Tim Clark, its president stated “That’s a sign of a rising tide of demand we are seeing all over the place.” “The demand to fly will be restored… soon rather than later.”
Biden’s administration’s plans to reopen America in November for travelers coming from 33 nations, as well as Europe on vital trans-Atlantic runs, were a boon to airlines.
Clark explained that the airlines left Boston as soon as they arrived with severely strained financial statements. He said most will remain cautious and focus on cash recoupment for 2 to 3 years.
IATA warned that carriers face serious challenges, and expressed disappointment at the inaction of airports suppliers.
JetBlue anticipates that the lifting of travel restrictions for Europeans will occur before the U.S. Thanksgiving holidays next month.
Robin Hayes Chief Executive stated, “If we delay the reopening, we will face consequences across all the industry,” after presidencing the October 3-5 conference. The Oct. 3-5 conference also set a target for net zero emissions by 2050.
Scott Kirby, Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines (NYSE:), stated that transatlantic flight bookings last week were more than in the same time period in 2019.
AerCap is the world’s biggest leasing company and believes that successful reopenings of long-haul markets will set an example for other markets.
Aengus Kelly, Chief Executive of Airlines said that airlines “don’t have the resilience” they used to. This was in front of a group of senior airline executives. They can’t afford this for it to happen.”