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Open air travel for inoculated passengers: IATA

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New Delhi, July 24, 2021- International air travel should be opened up for at least fully vaccinated air passengers, global airlines’ association IATA told.

As per the association, a comprehensive system should be set in place that allows hassle free travel for those inoculated.

Moreover, the system should also ensure testing and verification of those passengers who have not been inoculated but without increasing the already set restrictions.

“Vaccination and testing have a role to play in the recovery of international travel. It is not an option to wait for vaccines to be widely available before reopening borders. The global vaccine roll-out is likely to take time,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Deputy Director General and Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific.

“That’s why testing is the alternative for those who do not have access to vaccines or are unable to be vaccinated for various reasons.”

According to Clifford, it is not sustainable to maintain a zero case load approach, especially with scientists believing that Covid-19 will end up becoming endemic.

“We have been and continue to urge governments to make data driven decisions to manage the risks of Covid-19 when reopening their borders to international travel.”

Recently, independent data modelling conducted by Airbus and Boeing respectively have show that strategies without quarantine measures can enable international travel to restart with a very low risk of introduction of Covid-19 to the travel destination.

On the global level, vaccination drives have accelerated, thereby, triggering hopes for a faster economic rival of the world economy.

However, rising Delta variant cases around the world remains a key concern for governments globally.

“We are seeing governments around the world start to open borders to vaccinated travelers. More than 20 countries have wholly or partially lifted restrictions for vaccinated travellers.”

“In Asia, while there is a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, and Thailand has implemented a sandbox in Phuket, the borders of most countries are pretty much closed to international travel.”

Besides, a recent passengers’ survey conducted by IATA, showed that majority of them are confident about the safety of air travel and support mask-wearing in the near-term.

Further, the survey cited that 85 per cent of 4,700 travellers in 11 markets around the world believe that aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Nonetheless, many were frustrated with the “hassle factor” around Covid-19 protocols, including confusion and uncertainty about travel rules, testing requirements, and excessive test costs.

The survey pointed out that 65 per cent agree the air on an aircraft is as clean as an operating room.

Furthermore, passengers strongly supported mask wearing onboard (83 per cent) and strict enforcement of mask rules (86 per cent), but a majority also believe the mask requirement should be ended as soon as possible.  (Agency)

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