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IATA Releases Blueprint for Safe Return of International Travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday released a blueprint with simple, predictable and practical measures needed to facilitate the safe and efficient return of international travel.

Through the newly released policy paper: From Restart to Recovery: A Blueprint for Simplifying Travel, IATA aims to help governments with good practices and practical considerations as they are establishing processes to re-open borders.

“Over the next months we need to move from individual border openings to the restoration of a global air transport network that can reconnect communities and facilitate economic recovery,” said IATA Deputy Director General Conrad Clifford.

The blueprint aims to facilitate the efficient ramping-up of global connectivity. Specifically, IATA is urging governments to focus on the following three key areas:

According to Clifford, with over 18 months of pandemic operational experience and traveler feedback IATA knows that a laser-focus on simplicity, predictability and practicality is essential.

“That is not the reality today. Over 100,000 COVID-19 related measures have been implemented by governments worldwide. This complexity is a barrier to global mobility that is exacerbated by the inconsistencies these measures have created among states,” said Clifford.

IATA’s deputy director added that pre-pandemic some 88 million livelihoods were directly connected to aviation and the inability to travel freely by air has impacted the quality of life for billions of people.

“We know that travelers feel confident with the implementation of the COVID-19 safety measures. But they have clearly told us that the current travel experience needs to improve with better information, simpler processing and digital solutions,” he said.

Key findings in public opinion research of travelers

Photo source: IATA

– 80% believe that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely
– 81% believe that testing before travel is an acceptable alternative to vaccination
– 73% believe that quarantine is not necessary for vaccinated travelers
– 88% support standardized vaccination and testing certificates
– 87% will share personal health data via an app if it saves processing time
– 73% found understanding the rules and paperwork applicable to their travel to be a real challenge (those who traveled since June 2020)
– 87% believe that governments must find the right balance in managing COVID-19 and enabling an economic recovery
– 86% believe that borders should be progressively re-opened as vaccination coverage and testing capacity grow
– 85% believe that mask-wearing on board is critical in the pandemic, but 62% believe that the requirement should be removed as soon as possible

“Industry and government must work together with a common vision of processes that are convenient for travelers, effective for governments and practical for the industry,” said Clifford.

IATA’s blueprint for aviation recovery can be viewed here.

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