IATA director general, Alain de Juniac, has offered his first Covid-19 briefing for 2021 and called for government to focus on reopening borders to international aviation
Before we get into discussing the virus, I would like to extend the sympathies of the industry to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the tragic Sriwijaya Air crash over the weekend. Safety is aviation’s number one priority and our greatest success. Because of that, accidents are rare. When they do happen, it is a reminder that we must never take safety for granted. Our reputation for safety is something that we earn each day and with each flight. And, on the very rare occasions when things do go wrong, we investigate, and we improve.
Airlines bring this same serious approach to safety to everything that we do – including Covid-19. And that is one of the reasons why the slow pace of progress in the crisis is so frustrating. We are working tirelessly with governments to keep flying safe and reduce the risk of Covid-19 importation via travel with the implementation of the ICAO CART recommendations proposals to replace quarantine with Covid-19 testing. But the industry’s situation is still perilous.
In fact, it got worse over the year-end holiday period.
While we still see airlines turning cash positive within the year, the near-term picture is bleak. Instead of a boost from the year-end holiday period, we got even more restrictions. Governments tightened borders in a knee-jerk response to a virus mutation. Canada, UK, Germany, Japan and others added testing to their Covid-19 measures without removing quarantine requirements. In other words, they have chosen policy measures that will shut down travel.
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