A poll of recent travellers has revealed the extent to which people are missing travel.
Three in five (60%) respondents in the survey, which was commissioned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said that they anticipated a return to travel within one to two months of containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rest (40%) indicated that they could wait six months or more.
Despite this, IATA has emphasised the importance of government and airline co-operation for rebuilding confidence in travel.
“Passenger confidence will suffer a double whammy even after the pandemic is contained – hit by personal economic concerns in the face of a looming recession on top of lingering concerns about the safety of travel,” IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.
“Governments and industry must be quick and coordinated with confidence-boosting measures.”
While most anticipate a relatively quick return to air travel, the majority (69%) of participants in the study indicated that they could delay a return to travel “until their personal financial situation stabilizes”.
Backing this, IATA highlighted China’s cautious return to domestic travel despite coronavirus infection rates falling to “very low levels” in the country.
It also pointed to Australia's low demand for air travel (where total domestic flights are at 10% of pre-COVID-19 levels) as new coronavirus cases decrease – though this has been predominately dictated by government rules and recommendations.
According to the peak aviation body, domestic travel will be a critical indicator of post-pandemic movement, followed by regional and then intercontinental flights.
“People still want to travel. But they are telling us that they want clarity on the economic situation and will likely wait for at least a few months after any ‘all clear’ before returning to the skies,” Mr de Juniac said.
“As countries lift restrictions, confidence boosting measures will be critical to re-start travel and stimulate economies.”
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