“Air travel won’t return to ‘normal’ until 2023” – IATA

Industry experts think it might take a few years for international travel to get back up and running at full capacity.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) director-general Alexandre de Juniac told ABC News Breakfast new forecasts predict air traffic won’t “come back to normal” until 2023.

Passengers wearing protective masks and gloves arrive at Miami International Airport for a charter flight on South African Airways (SAA) to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban

“We have published today a new forecast about the potential recovery of the air traffic, and what we see is that things should come back to normal in 2023, which is later than our previous forecast.”

He said the delay in the return to normalcy shows the severity of the crisis and the impact it has had on the industry.

“We should join progressively the historical trends by the beginning of 2023.”

De Juniac explained the IATA was planning to restart the industry by reopening domestic markets first, followed by regional continental markets – such as Asia-Pacific, Europe or North America.

By the end of 2020, traffic was expected to be between 50 per cent and 55 per cent of the level seen in 2019.

“We would lose something like half the traffic for the 2020.”

He feared some airlines could go bankrupt from the pandemic. IATA and the industry as a whole was relying on various governments’ support packages. 

In the US, the IATA predicted demand for flights wouldn’t rise until at least 2025. De Juniac told The Washington Post the industry opposed quarantine measures put on travellers moving between countries, such as the UK and Spain.

“International travel cannot restart under such conditions,” he said.

The same restrictions were still in place in both Australia and New Zealand and were likely to remain for quite some time, based on previous comments from both countries prime ministers.

The proposed trans-Tasman bubble, that was currently being discussed by New Zealand and Australian officials, would allow people to move across ‘the ditch’ without the need to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine on either side.

From AAP. Thursday 15 May 2020.

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