The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that air travellers are increasingly frustrated with the Covid-19 travel restrictions.
A survey commissioned by the trade body of 4,700 respondents in 11 markets in September demonstrated confidence that the risks of Covid-19 can be effectively managed and that the freedom to travel should be restored.
Some 67 per cent of respondents felt that most country borders should be opened now, up 12 percentage-points from the June survey.
In total, 64 per cent of respondents felt that border closures are unnecessary and have not been effective in containing the virus (up 11 percentage points from June).
Finally, 73 per cent responded that their quality of life is suffering as a result of Covid-19 travel restrictions (up six percentage points from June).
“People are increasingly frustrated with the Covid-19 travel restrictions and even more have seen their quality of life suffer as a result.
“They don’t see the necessity of travel restrictions to control the virus.
“And they have missed too many family moments, personal development opportunities and business priorities.
“In short, they miss the freedom of flying and want it restored.
“The message they are sending to governments is: Covid-19 is not going to disappear, so we must establish a way to manage its risks while living and traveling normally,” said Willie Walsh, IATA director general.
The biggest deterrent to air travel continues to be quarantine measures.
Some 84 per cent of respondents indicated that they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at their destination.
With the vaccination rates globally increasing, 80 per cent of respondents agree that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely by air.
However, there were strong views against making vaccination a condition for air travel.
About two-thirds felt it is morally wrong to restrict travel only to those who have been vaccinated.
Over 80 per cent of respondents believe that testing before air travel should be an alternative for people without access to vaccination.
“There is a message here for governments.
“People are willing to be tested to travel. But they don’t like the cost or the inconvenience.
“Both can be addressed by governments.
“The reliability of rapid antigen tests is recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“It is also clear that while people accept testing and other measures such as mask-wearing as necessary, they want to return to more normal ways of travel when it is safe to do so,” added Walsh.