The airline industry is stepping up its campaign to ease border restrictions and allow more international travel – even by people not vaccinated against the coronavirus – despite high infection rates in many countries.
The industry’s trade group, the International Air Transport Association, said on Wednesday that governments should use screening measures, such as testing passengers for the virus, rather than imposing quarantines and others. restrictions.
The group cited studies which indicate that vaccinated travelers have little risk of spreading COVID-19. To bolster its argument to allow unvaccinated people to travel as well, the air group said only 2.2% of travelers to the UK between late February and early May tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving.
“There is no such thing as a risk-free approach,” senior group official Willie Walsh, former CEO of British Airways and Aer Lingus, told reporters. Governments have to accept certain risks “and get on with our lives,” he said.
The comments highlight concern from airline officials that a recovery in travel may not be fast enough to make the peak summer vacation season a success. They hope officials from the rich G7 countries will agree to ease travel restrictions during or before a leaders’ summit meeting in England next week.
Last month, US and UK airlines called on President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift restrictions on travel between the two countries ahead of the summit, but neither government acted.
The airline group predicts the industry will lose $ 48 billion this year after losing $ 126 billion in 2020. The group’s chief economist said last week that air traffic this year will account for 52% of traffic. 2019 and will not return to pre-pandemic levels. until 2023.
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