Global air travel industry must work to meet the surge in demand: Collinson survey

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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According to UK-based travel services firm Collinson, the air transport industry needs to prepare for a boom in demand for flights, with the majority of the world’s regular travelers looking forward to getting back on a plane in the coming months.

The company recently polled 46,000 people who used to travel often before the COVID-19 outbreak and found that 78 percent of those asked are looking forward to flying in the coming 12 months.

However, the sector must take the necessary steps to encourage people to travel again. According to the survey, roughly eight out of ten people (76 percent) said they would feel more confident flying internationally if vaccinations were made mandatory, and 64 percent said COVID-19 testing and the usage of digital health certificates would encourage them to travel even more.

Mr. Andy Besant, Managing Director of travel experiences at Collinson remarked that “it’s clear those travelers are ready and waiting to get on a plane as long as the right measures, such as social distancing and contactless transactions are in place.”

“But the travel experience will change, with traveler demand for greater automation and socially-distanced spaces such as lounges, to balance the upheaval of the past year. As such, all the players in the travel ecosystem need to be fully prepared to manage the surge, which is likely to occur,” Mr. Besant added.

Recovery

According to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) most recent forecast, worldwide passenger numbers might recover to 52 percent of pre-pandemic levels (2019). The numbers will recover to 88 percent and 105 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels by 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Due to widespread vaccination campaigns, an increase in demand is projected. Mr. Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General pointed out that “we are in the deepest and gravest crisis in our history. But the rapidly growing vaccinated population and advancements in testing will return the freedom to fly in the months ahead. And when that happens, people are going to want to travel.”

As per the results of Collinson’s survey, respondents’ feedback indicates that private trips, not business travel, will drive the airline industry’s recovery.

According to the firm, leisure travel will account for more than half of all trips taken in the coming year, while business travel will recover more slowly.

The survey also found that quarantines are also considered ineffectual, unnecessary, and an obstacle to recovery. When asked about the significance of quarantine, only 29 percent of flyers said that quarantine is a necessary safety measure, while 72 percent believe it is a substantial impediment to foreign travel.

Mr. Davide Evans, joint CEO of Collinson concluded that “it’s now up to governments around the world to agree and align on an effective program to restart frequent international travel, using digital health certificates, alongside pre-departure and on-arrival testing to diminish or remove quarantine time, while keeping travelers safe.”

Related: IATA welcomes surging number of nations opening borders for vaccinated travelers

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