The International Air Transport Association's (IATA) latest survey reveals that travellers' willingness to resume travel are being tempered by concerns over the risk of catching Covid-19 during air travel.
Conducted with travellers from 11 countries who have taken at least one flight since July 2019, the survey found that 66% would travel less for leisure and business in the post-pandemic world.
“This crisis could have a very long shadow. Passengers are telling us that it will take time before they return to their old travel habits. Many airlines are not planning for demand to return to 2019 levels until 2023 or 2024," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO.
The top concerns include being in a crowded vehicle on the way to the aircraft (59%), sitting next to someone who may be infected (65%), queuing at security control (42%), using restrooms (42%), and breathing the air on the plane (37%).
But passengers have displayed a willingness to play a role in keeping flying safe by undergoing temperature checks (43%), wearing a mask during travel (42%), checking in online to minimise interactions at the airport (40%), taking a Covid-19 test prior to travel (39%) and sanitising their seating area (38%).
“People are clearly concerned about Covid-19 when travelling. But they are also reassured by the practical measures being introduced by governments and the industry under the take-off guidance developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization... This tells us that we are on the right track to restoring confidence in travel,” remarked de Juniac.
One of the major factors impeding industry recovery is quarantine, with 85% surveyed reporting concern for being quarantined while travelling. This is almost as concerning as the fear of catching the virus while travelling (85%). Among the measures that travellers were willing to take in adapting to travel during or after the pandemic, only 17% expressed willingness to undergo quarantine.
"Quarantine is a demand killer. Keeping borders closed prolongs the pain by causing economic hardship well beyond airlines. If governments want to re-start their tourism sectors, alternative risk-based measures are needed,” said de Juniac.