IATA Urges Governments to Restore Passenger ConfidenceBy Emilio Aristegui | Wed, 06/29/2022 - 14:19
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to prepare for future health threats to prevent border closures, which greatly damage the aviation and tourism industries.
The IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS), taking place on June 19-21 in Doha, Qatar, are particularly “momentous,” according to IATA. Most airlines are fighting to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, while pouring efforts towards the achievement of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and adapting to an unexpected geopolitical environment.
“It’s vital to restore public confidence in government handling of health crises and border restrictions. Much of the damage was caused not by fear of the virus, but fear of sudden and arbitrary border restrictions imposed by authorities. Understanding the significant lessons from the pandemic will be crucial to managing future health crises in a way that ensures borders should not have to close again,” said Conrad Clifford, Deputy Director General, IATA.
The organization also highlighted that border closures are not a viable means to regulate health crises. If new COVID variants are discovered, travel restrictions surge would only delay the peak of infections by a maximum of four days, according to data from the Word Health Organization (WHO) and OXERA/Edge Health.
“We urge governments to listen to WHO advice on the need to keep borders open. And we are calling for independent research into the effectiveness of policies that balance health measures with the social and economic benefits of air connectivity, with a view to agreeing a set of global recommendations for handling future health crises,” said Clifford.
IATA assured that public confidence was severely affected by poor rule-making and contradictory information, citing that in Jan. 2022 some 100,000 different measures affecting international travel were in place.
Mexican airlines have faced an increase in demand. Volaris, for example, reported a 12.3 percent growth in May and seeks to increase its operations in Puebla and Queretaro. Mexico’s aviation industry has recovered faster than others thanks in part to its lenient border policies, which even allow unvaccinated passengers to freely enter, according to the Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE).