Govts must step-up support for more efficient aviation operation – IATA

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE 

KUALA LUMPUR – Governments must intensify their support for more efficient operations in the aviation industry and foster an effective energy transition to ensure that the industry can sustainably deliver social and economic benefits.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Tourism Economics’ long-term view for post-COVID-19 passenger demand recovery released today has revealed that people remain eager to travel in the short and long term period.

In a statement, it said that for 2021, global passenger numbers are expected to recover to 52 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels (2019), 88 per cent in 2022, and surpass the pre-pandemic level in 2023 at 105 per cent.

IATA’s director-general Willie Walsh said that the aviation industry will continue to grow as people want and need to travel.

“But we must be able to fulfil that consumer demand sustainably. It is no secret that this is more challenging for the aviation sector than sectors with broader energy alternatives, but with the support of governments, we will get there through a combination of means,” he said.

Meanwhile, the association has warned of potential airport chaos if governments do not move quickly to adopt digital processes to manage travel health credentials, such as COVID-19 testing and vaccine certificates, as well as other COVID-19-related measures.

“Without an automated solution for COVID-19 checks, we can see the potential for significant airport disruptions on the horizon,” it said.

IATA noted that the average passenger processing and waiting times have doubled from what they were pre-crisis during peak time — reaching an unacceptable three hours.

“And that is with many airports deploying pre-crisis level staffing for a small fraction of pre-crisis volumes.

“Nobody will tolerate such long waiting hours at check-in or for border formalities. We must automate the checking of vaccine and test certificates before traffic ramps-up,” Walsh said.

If governments require COVID-19 health credentials for travel, integrating them into already automated processes is the solution for a smooth restart.

This would need globally recognised, standardised, and interoperable digital certificates for COVID-19 testing and vaccine certificates, it said.

IATA said digitalised certificates have several advantages, including avoiding fraudulent documentation, enabling advance “ready-to-fly” checks by governments, as well as reducing queuing, crowding and waiting time in airports through integration with self-service check-in.

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