Quarantine on arrival systems keep air travel low


The analysis from IATA shows that if domestic markets open in Q3, with a much slower phased opening of international markets, this will limit the air travel recovery, despite most forecasts pointing toward a strong economic rebound during 2021. 

In 2021, it expects global passenger demand to be 24% below 2019 levels and 32% lower than IATA’s October 2019 Air Passenger forecast for 2021. 

2019 levels will not be exceeded until 2023. As international markets open and economies recover, there will be further growth in air travel from the 2020 low point. But even by 2025 IATA expects global demand to be 10% lower than the previous forecast. 

The analysis suggests that an alternative pessimistic scenario based on a slower opening of economies and relaxation of travel restrictions, with lockdowns extending into Q3, would further delay the recovery of air travel. In this case, global demand could be 34% lower than 2019 levels and 41% below the previous forecast for 2021.

When the tourism recovery begins, IATA predicts it will be led by domestic travel.

IATA suggests possible alternatives to open borders without quarantining arrivals could include:

  • Preventing travel by those who are symptomatic with temperature screening and other measures.
  • Addressing the risks of asymptomatic travellers with governments managing a robust system of health declarations and vigorous contact tracing. 


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