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Aviation

A FIRST FOR TRANSAT: Airline lands in California for the first time

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Air Transat began non-stop service to Los Angeles from Montreal this week. This first flight to the City of Angels — famous for its Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset Boulevard, countless film studios and Malibu Beach — marks the start of the carrier’s operations in sunny California.

The first TS240 flight to Los Angeles landed on May 16, with passengers and crew greeted with excitement by the airport team.

“We are thrilled to be operating this route and flying passengers to a multifaceted city that is known for its many tourist attractions, but that also represents an excellent gateway to the rest of California,” said Joseph Adamo, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Transat. “The new flight shows our commitment to developing the transborder market and offering new destinations to travellers seeking discovery and experiences,” he added.

“After recently consolidating its position in the transatlantic market with its first flight from Montreal to Amsterdam, Air Transat continues to develop its services, this time to the United States with a new route to Los Angeles. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, our passengers will be happy to enjoy the sunshine of the Pacific Coast. Nothing makes us happier than to see our partners enrich their services. In the end, the entire community benefits from its international airport, and after two difficult years, YUL is well positioned to resume its role as a major air traffic hub,” said Stéphane Lapierre, Vice President, Airport Operations and Air Services Development at ADM.

“The addition of Air Transat at LAX will enhance the economic and tourism ties between Los Angeles and Montreal and give Angelenos a new option when it comes to exploring all that Canada has to offer,” said Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports. “We welcome Air Transat to beautiful Southern California just in time for travellers to head north for fun and vacations this spring and summer.”

Flights to Los Angeles will be operated until the end of October three times weekly, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On May 19, Air Transat will also inaugurate its non-stop service between Montreal and San Francisco, which will run twice a week.

The crew of the very first TS240 flight from Montreal to Los Angeles

This will allow Canadian travellers to book a multi-destination flight; for example, passengers can land in Los Angeles, venture along the scenic Route 1 and return home from San Francisco.

Air Transat passengers flying to California will do so on board the new-generation Airbus A321neoLR which is 15% more fuel efficient, 50% less noisy and lowers emissions of the greenhouse gas NOx by 50% compared to previous generation aircraft. In addition, its modern cabin provides more personal space and larger individual entertainment screens in both Economy and Club Class.

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ANYBODY UP THERE: Congress looks into UFOs, but no signs of extraterrestrials

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Congress held its first hearing in half a century Tuesday on unidentified flying objects. And no, there is still no government confirmation of extraterrestrial life. Testifying before a House Intelligence subcommittee, Pentagon officials did not disclose additional information from their ongoing investigation of hundreds of unexplained sightings in the sky. But they said they had picked a director for a new task force to coordinate data collection efforts on what the government has officially labeled “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

Ronald Moultrie, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said the Pentagon was also trying to destigmatize the issue and encourage pilots and other military personnel to report anything unusual they see.

“We want to know what’s out there as much as you want to know what’s out there,” Moultrie told lawmakers, adding that he was a fan of science fiction himself. “We get the questions not just from you. We get it from family and we get them night and day.”

Lawmakers from both parties say UFOs are a national security concern. Sightings of what appear to be aircraft flying without discernible means of propulsion have been reported near military bases and coastlines, raising the prospect that witnesses have spotted undiscovered or secret Chinese or Russian technology.

But the sightings are usually fleeting. Some appear for no more than an instant on camera – and then sometimes end up distorted by the camera lens. The US government is believed to hold additional technical information on the sightings that it has not disclosed publicly.

This file video grab image obtained April 28, 2020 courtesy of the US Department of Defense shows part of an unclassified video taken by Navy pilots that have circulated for years showing interactions with “unidentified aerial phenomena”.

An interim report released by intelligence officials last year counted 144 sightings of aircraft or other devices apparently flying at mysterious speeds or trajectories. In all but one of the sightings investigated, there was too little information for investigators to even broadly characterize the nature of the incident.

A top Pentagon official on Tuesday briefly demonstrated the challenge. Scott Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence, stood next to a television to show a short video taken from an F-18 military plane. The video shows a blue sky with passing clouds. In a single frame – which it took several minutes for staff in the room to queue up – there is an image of one balloon-like shape.

“As you can see, finding UAP is harder than you may think,” Bray said, using the acronym for “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

Rep. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat who chaired the hearing, called on investigators to show they “are willing to follow the facts where they lead.”

Rep. Rick Crawford, an Arkansas Republican, noted that the investigations were not “about finding alien spacecraft but about delivering dominant intelligence.”

“The inability to understand objects in our sensitive operating areas is tantamount to intelligence failure that we certainly want to avoid,” he said.

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ONE DEAD IN FLORIDA BRIDGE PLANE CRASH

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One of the three people aboard a small plane died when it crashed onto a bridge near Miami this weekend, police said. The aircraft lost power Saturday shortly after takeoff, coming down on the bridge and striking an SUV, then bursting into flames.

The two other people on the plane were taken to a trauma center, while a woman and two toddlers in the vehicle were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the Miami-Dade Police.

No further information was released on the person who died. Police said the body was found in the wreckage after firefighters put out the flames.

Drone video on social media showed the plane crumpled on the bridge with a damaged SUV nearby. A man can be seen scrambling from the plane and being helped by others to the side of the roadway just before the aircraft is engulfed in flames.

The single-engine Cessna 172 crashed on the Haulover Inlet Bridge, after departing from Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale International Airport bound for Key West, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

 

 

 

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

DEEPLY SORRY: Alaska Airlines CEO warns flight cancellations to continue

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The CEO of Alaska Airlines says the high level of flight cancellations since April will continue through this month. Passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted have found little help from the airline in finding alternative ways to their destination, with customer service phone lines citing hold times of up to 10 hours.(VIDEO)

The Seattle Times reports that Ben Minicucci said in a message to employees Thursday evening that stability should return in June.

“Of the 1,200 flights that we operate every day, we’ve been canceling about 50 of them, roughly 4%. This is coming at a time when flights are already full, so rebooking options are limited and many of our guests have experienced extraordinarily long hold times,” Minicucci wrote.

In a follow-up video message for the traveling public that was posted on YouTube Friday morning and sent via email to Alaska’s mileage plan members, Minicucci apologized.

“I’m deeply sorry,” he said in the two-minute video. “I hear every day from friends, neighbors and guests about how disruptive our flight cancellations have been.”

In his message to staff, Minicucci acknowledged that responsibility for the situation lies with management, saying he and the leadership team “take full responsibility.”

He said Alaska started April and May with 63 fewer pilots than needed to fly the published flight schedule. Management didn’t recognize this shortage until too late.

He said the airline has centralized staff and schedule planning under one team and prioritized hiring, training and recruiting for pilots, flight attendants and other workgroups.

Minicucci’s apology and some passenger reactions:

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

AN ‘ISLAND OF SANITY’: Travel trends at play for new Plaza Premium at YYZ

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Arrive early at Pearson airport and have some time to lounge around? Plaza Premium has just the ticket: it’s new Landmark Lounge, completed during the pandemic and recently re-revealed as Canadians increasingly return to travel and their pre-COVID rituals.

Located in Terminal 3, the lounge is the largest independently operated lounge in North America and marks an expansion of Plaza Premium Lounge services at YYZ, joining a lounge in T1 that is being redone (due to open in July, replaced in the meantime by the Concept Lounge), along with lounges in Vancouver (YVR), Edmonton (YEG) and Winnipeg (YWG).

But the Landmark Lounge is the company’s new flagship, says Plaza Premium Group’s (PPG) regional director of operations for Canada, David Zaltzman. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, he adds, amid scenes of airport congestion and chaos as pent-up traveller demand is unleashed and people look to get away after two-plus years of pandemic pause.

“Our mission is to make travel better. Imagine that this is an island of sanity (in a busy airport,” he adds.

He also notes the safety aspect during COVID times, stating, “Luxury is the new safety!”

Officially opened just before Christmas, the Landmark Lounge is open to the passengers of all airlines and age groups, including on a walk-up basis, or through pre-purchased passes.

Lounge

Amenities include:

• A spacious environment (1,100-sq.m.) capable of hosting over 300 people

• Tasteful modern design with marble and brass accents, communal and private seating arrangements, and an expansive panoramic view of the tarmac

• Elevated food and beverage options include local and organic food servicing a variety of diets from vegan to meat-lovers from the live kitchen, the aerobar offering premium bar and champagne, and contactless ordering. In addition, Lounge to Go allows guests to take premium food options with them as they travel.

• Free Wi-fi and charging facilities; TVs

• Colourful kids play area and nursing room

• Wellness spa offering massages and manicures, complete with showering stations.

“It’s everything a traveller could want before boarding,” Zaltzman at a recent media preview of the venue.

Bar

Travel agents

Plaza Premium Canada Sr. VP. Pascal Bélanger, meanwhile, says emphatically that “leisure travel is back” (though he notes, business travel is lagging), but he says the nature of the experience is changing, with travellers showing up much earlier than before at airports and looking for enhanced luxury and amenities in their travels.

Travel agents similarly are reinventing themselves in the post-pandemic environment, Bélanger says, not least when it comes to finding new and creative ways to add value to their services.

To that end, he says, some agents buy Plaza Premium lounge passes and add them to packages as incentives, while others similarly sell or add the service (with a mark-up), not unlike they would with insurance and other package components.

In either case, he says, the company is eager to work with travel agents and offers passes in bulk or at discounted/negotiated rates.

“Travel agents are our best friends, they are our ambassadors,” he declares.

ALLWAYS

And there’s more: Plaza Premium also offers a bespoke Meet & Greet service, ALLWAYS. The end-to-end airport experience provides tailor-made airport services whether on arrival, departure or in transit, including baggage handling, lounge stays, immigration-designated channel, COVID-testing procedures, limousine transfer, buggy service, and even airport escorts.

The service is often used by high-end travellers, including celebrities travelling to the city for event like the Toronto International Film Festival, and corporately by companies like Rogers.

Taken together, Plaza Premium services are meant to help created a symbiotic relationship between travellers and the airport – and one that will help “demystify” the lounge experience as being only available to high-flyers and those with premium credit cards, says Bélanger.

A case in point, he observes, is that passengers could easily spend $50 on a meal “downstairs (in the airport)”. At the same time, unlimited, food and drinks, along with the incumbent “sanity” of the lounge, plus a whole lot more, can be had for the same cost “upstairs.”

Landmark Lounge is open daily from 15:00 – 23:00 daily. Walk-in entry is available for all travellers regardless of their airline provider or ticket class starting at $50 and via select credit cards or in advance via the Plaza Premium website or designated corporate partners, including the new Plaza Premium Lounge Pass Americas (Americas Pass). A mobile app and points program is also available.

Plaza Premium Group

During recent months, Plaza Premium Group has expanded its global footprint to over 250 locations across 30 countries and 70 international airports worldwide, by adding more than 47 locations to its network, including 24 lounges, two Aerotel hotels, two dining outlets, as well as Meet & Assist passenger services across six airport locations. Earlier this year, Plaza Premium Lounge at London Heathrow Airport T2 was crowned “World’s Best Independent Airport Lounge” for the fifth consecutive year at Skytrax’s World Airline Awards.

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

VERY INTERESTING: Air Transat and Westjet launch Transatlantic codeshare

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Air Transat and WestJet have launched a new transatlantic codeshare. WestJet’s “WS” code is now activated for sale on select Air Transat operated flights to/from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and Croatia. Connections via Montreal and Toronto are now available for flight dates beginning May 17.

On May 4, Air Transat’s “TS” code will be activated on select WestJet flights, and from that date Air Transat will also offer itineraries connecting select WestJet flights with appealing Air Transat European destinations.

“We are very excited to launch this codeshare agreement with WestJet,” said Michèle Barre, Vice President, Network, Revenue Management and Pricing of Air Transat. “The complementarity of our respective networks allows us to offer more alternatives to our customers, providing them with a quality and affordable product. This partnership is part of Air Transat’s development strategy, enhancing our long-standing presence in the transatlantic market.”

“This new codeshare with Air Transat complements our growing global network, allowing WestJet to offer guests exciting new destinations in Europe,” said John Weatherill, Chief Commercial Officer, WestJet. “As our guests return to travel, these new options will connect North America and Europe in new ways and benefit guests on both sides of the Atlantic.”

With this new codeshare, travellers have more options for their transatlantic travel, with conveniences such as a single purchase for connecting flights, the ability to check in for all flights at their first departure, and baggage checked through to their final destination.

Once activated, both Air Transat and WestJet codeshare ticket sales will be available via the carriers’ websites and call centers, as well as via major GDS systems and travel agencies.

Subject to connectivity between their scheduled flights, Air Transat and WestJet will both offer the following transatlantic routings:

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Strong Demand Recovery in January for Airlines

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IATA Strong Demand Recovery in January for Airlines - AIRLINEHUB.comGeneva, Switzerland, March 11, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel slowed for both domestic and international in January 2022 compared to December 2021, owing to the imposition of travel restrictions following the emergence of Omicron last November.

Note: We are returning to year-on-year traffic comparisons, instead of comparisons with the 2019 period, unless otherwise noted. Owing to the low traffic base in 2021, some markets will show very high year-on-year growth rates, even if the size of these markets is still significantly smaller than they were in 2019.

– Total demand for air travel in January 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 82.3% compared to January 2021. However, it was down 4.9% compared to the previous month (December 2021) on a seasonally adjusted basis.

– January domestic air travel was up 41.5% compared to the year-ago period but fell 7.2% compared to December 2021 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

– International RPKs rose 165.6% versus January 2021 but fell by 2.2% month-on-month between December 2021 and January 2022 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“The recovery in air travel continued in January, despite hitting a speed bump called Omicron. Strengthened border controls did not stop the spread of the variant. But where population immunity was strong, the public health systems were not overwhelmed. Many governments are now adjusting COVID-19 polices to align with those for other endemic viruses. This includes lifting travel restrictions that have had such a devastating impact on lives, economies and the freedom to travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

International Passenger Markets

– European carriers’ January international traffic rose 225.1% versus January 2021, which was up slightly compared to a 223.3% increase in December 2021 versus the same month in 2020. Capacity rose 129.9% and load factor climbed 19.4 percentage points to 66.4%.

– Asia-Pacific airlines saw their January international traffic climb 124.4% compared to January 2021, down significantly from the 138.5% gain registered in December 2021 versus December 2020. Capacity rose 54.4% and the load factor was up 14.7 percentage points to 47.0%, still the lowest among regions.

– Middle Eastern airlines had a 145.0% demand rise in January compared to January 2021, well down compared to the 178.2% increase in December 2021, versus the same month in 2020. January capacity rose 71.7% versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 17.5 percentage points to 58.6%.

– North American carriers experienced a 148.8% traffic rise in January versus the 2021 period, significantly decreased versus the 185.4% rise in December 2021 compared to December 2020. Capacity rose 78.0%, and load factor climbed 17.0 percentage points to 59.9%.

– Latin American airlines saw a 157.0% rise in January traffic, compared to the same month in 2021, an upturn over the 150.8% rise in December 2021 compared to December 2020. January capacity rose 91.2% and load factor increased 19.4 percentage points to 75.7%, which easily was the highest load factor among the regions for the 16th consecutive month.

– African airlines’ traffic rose 17.9% in January 2022 versus a year ago, a slowdown compared to the 26.3% year-over-year increase recorded in December 2021. January 2022 capacity was up 6.3% and load factor climbed 6.0 percentage points to 60.5%.

– Japan’s domestic demand was 107%, which was the fastest year-on-year growth recorded, although on a seasonally adjusted basis, January 2022 traffic slipped 4.1% from December.

– India’s domestic RPKs fell by 18% year-on-year in January , which the biggest decline recorded for any of the domestic markets tracked by IATA. On a month-on-month basis, seasonally adjusted RPKs dropped by nearly 45% between December and January.

2022 vs 2019

Despite the strong traffic growth recorded in January 2022 compared to a year ago, passenger demand remains far below pre-COVID-19 levels. Total RPKs in January were down 49.6% compared to January 2019. International traffic was down 62.4%, with domestic traffic off by 26.5%.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict

January figures do not include any impact from the Russia-Ukraine conflict which began at the end of February. The resulting sanctions and airspace closures are expected to have a negative impact on travel, primarily among neighboring countries.

The Ukraine market accounted for 3.3% of European passenger traffic and 0.8% of global traffic in 2021.

The Russian international market represented 5.7% of European traffic (excluding Russia domestic market) and 1.3% of global traffic in 2021.

Airspace closures have led to rerouting or cancellations of flights on some routes, mostly in the Europe-Asia but also in Asia-North America market. This impact is mitigated owing to greatly diminished flight activity since borders in Asia were largely closed owing to COVID-19. In 2021, RPKs flown between Asia-North America and Asia-Europe accounted for 3.0%, and 4.5%, respectively, of global international RPKs.

In addition to these disruptions, the sudden spike in fuel prices is putting pressure on airline costs. “When we made our most recent industry financial forecast last autumn, we expected the airline industry to lose $11.6 billion in 2022 with jet fuel at $78/barrel and fuel accounting for 20% of costs. As of 4 March, jet fuel is trading at over $140/barrel. Absorbing such a massive hit on costs just as the industry is struggling to cut losses as it emerges from the two-year COVID-19 crisis is a huge challenge. If the jet fuel price stays that high, then over time, it is reasonable to expect that it will be reflected in airline yields,” said Walsh.

The Bottom Line

“The past few weeks have seen a dramatic shift by many governments around the world to ease or remove COVID-19-related travel restrictions and requirements as the disease enters its endemic phase. It’s vital that this process continue and even accelerate, to more quickly restore damaged global supply chains and enable people to resume their lives. One step to encourage a return to normality is to remove mask mandates for air travel. It makes no sense to continue to require masks on airplanes when they are no longer being required in shopping malls, theatres or offices. Aircraft are equipped with highly sophisticated hospital quality filtration systems and have much higher air flow and air exchange rates than most other indoor environments where mask mandates already have been removed,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Sabre Terminates Distribution Agreement with Aeroflot

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Sabre Terminates Distribution Agreement with Aeroflot

Southlake, Texas, United States, March 9, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Sabre Corporation, a leading software and technology company in the travel industry, today announced that it has terminated its distribution agreement with Aeroflot, the largest government-majority owned carrier in Russia. Sabre is taking immediate steps to remove Aeroflot flight content from its global distribution system (GDS), a marketplace used by travel agencies, travel websites and corporations around the world to shop, book and service flight reservations.

“Sabre has been monitoring the evolving situation in Ukraine with increasing concern. From the beginning, our primary focus has been the safety of our team members in the impacted region, as well as doing our part to support the much-needed relief efforts,” said Sean Menke, CEO of Sabre. “We are taking a stand against this military conflict. We are complying, and will continue to comply, with sanctions imposed against Russia. In addition, today we announced that Sabre has terminated its distribution agreement with Aeroflot, removing its content from our GDS.”

The Company will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and will evaluate whether additional actions would be appropriate, taking into account legal considerations and any counter measures that could be implemented in response.

To help support humanitarian programs in the region, Sabre, which has approximately 1,500 team members in Poland, has donated $1 million to the Polish Red Cross, a 100-year charity that does exemplary work in conflict zones and for supporting displaced people. The funds donated by Sabre will be used by the Polish Red Cross to purchase, among other materials, much-needed food, hygiene products and sleeping bags, and will support the provision of medical assistance to those seeking shelter in Poland.

About Sabre Corporation
Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre’s technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Air Passenger Numbers to Recover in 2024

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IATA Air Passenger Numbers to Recover in 2024 - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, March 3, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects overall traveler numbers to reach 4.0 billion in 2024 (counting multi-sector connecting trips as one passenger), exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels (103% of the 2019 total).

Expectations for the shape of the near-term recovery have shifted slightly, reflecting the evolution of government-imposed travel restrictions in some markets. The overall picture presented in the latest update to IATA’s long-term forecast, however, is unchanged from what was expected in November, prior to the Omicron variant.

“The trajectory for the recovery in passenger numbers from COVID-19 was not changed by the Omicron variant. People want to travel. And when travel restrictions are lifted, they return to the skies. There is still a long way to go to reach a normal state of affairs, but the forecast for the evolution in passenger numbers gives good reason to be optimistic,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The February update to the long-term forecast includes the following highlights:

  • In 2021, overall traveler numbers were 47% of 2019 levels. This is expected to improve to 83% in 2022, 94% in 2023, 103% in 2024 and 111% in 2025.
  • In 2021, international traveler numbers were 27% of 2019 levels. This is expected to improve to 69% in 2022, 82% in 2023, 92% in 2024 and 101% in 2025.

This is a slightly more optimistic near-term international recovery scenario compared to November 2021, based on the progressive relaxation or elimination of travel restrictions in many markets. This has seen improvements in the major North Atlantic and intra-European markets, strengthening the baseline for recovery. Asia-Pacific is expected to continue to lag the recovery with the region’s largest market, China, not showing any signs of relaxing its severe border measures in the near future.

  • In 2021, domestic traveler numbers were 61% of 2019 levels. This is expected to improve to 93% in 2022, 103% in 2023, 111% in 2024 and 118% in 2025.

The outlook for the evolution of domestic traveler numbers is slightly more pessimistic than in November. While the US and Russian domestic markets have recovered, the same is not true for the other major domestic markets of China, Canada, Japan and Australia.

“The biggest and most immediate drivers of passenger numbers are the restrictions that governments place on travel. Fortunately, more governments have understood that travel restrictions have little to no long-term impact on the spread of a virus. And the economic and social hardship caused for very limited benefit is simply no longer acceptable in a growing number of markets. As a result, the progressive removal of restrictions is giving a much-needed boost to the prospects for travel,” said Walsh.

IATA reiterates its call for:

  • The removal of all travel barriers (including quarantine and testing) for those fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine
  • Pre-departure antigen testing to enable quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated travelers
  • Removing all travel bans, and
  • Accelerating the easing of travel restrictions in recognition that travelers pose no greater risk for COVID-19 spread than already exists in the general population.

Regional Variations

Not all markets or market sectors are recovering at the same pace.

“In general, we are moving in the right direction, but there are some concerns. Asia-Pacific is the laggard of the recovery. While Australia and New Zealand have announced measures to reconnect with the world, China is showing no signs of relaxing its zero-COVID strategy. The resulting localized lock-downs in its domestic market are depressing global passenger numbers even as other major markets like the US are largely back to normal,” said Walsh.

Asia-Pacific: The slow removal of international travel restrictions, and the likelihood of renewed domestic restrictions during COVID outbreaks, mean that traffic to/from/within Asia Pacific will only reach 68% of 2019 levels in 2022, the weakest outcome of the main regions. 2019 levels should be recovered in 2025 (109%) due to a slow recovery on international traffic in the region.

Europe: In the next few years, the intra-Europe market is expected to benefit from passenger preferences for short-haul travel as confidence rebuilds. This will be facilitated by increasingly harmonized and restriction-free movement within the EU. Total passenger numbers to/from/within Europe are expected to reach 86% of 2019 values in 2022, before making a full recovery in 2024 (105%).

North America: After a resilient 2021, traffic to/from/within North America will continue to perform strongly in 2022 as the US domestic market returns to pre-crisis trends, and with ongoing improvements in international travel. In 2022, passenger numbers will reach 94% of 2019 levels, and full recovery is expected in 2023 (102%), ahead of other regions.

Africa: Africa’s passenger traffic prospects are somewhat weaker in the near-term, due to slow progress in vaccinating the population, and the impact of the crisis on developing economies. Passenger numbers to/from/within Africa will recover more gradually than in other regions, reaching 76% of 2019 levels in 2022, surpassing pre-crisis levels only in 2025 (101%).

Middle East: With limited short-haul markets, the Middle East focus on long-haul connectivity through its hubs is expected to result in slower recovery. Passenger numbers to/from/within the Middle East are expected to reach 81% of 2019 levels in 2022, 98% in 2024 and 105% in 2025.

Latin America: Traffic to/from/within Latin America has been relatively resilient during the pandemic and is forecast to see a strong 2022, with limited travel restrictions and dynamic passenger flows within the region and to/from North America. 2019 passenger numbers are forecast to be surpassed in 2023 for Central America (102%), followed by South America in 2024 (103%) and the Caribbean in 2025 (101%).

Russia-Ukraine Conflict
The forecast does not calculate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In general, air transport is resilient against shocks and this conflict is unlikely to impact the long-term growth of air transport. It is too early to estimate what the near-term consequences will be for aviation, but it is clear that there are downside risks, in particular in markets with exposure to the conflict.

Sensitivity factors will include the geographic extent, severity, and time-period for sanctions and/or airspace closures. These impacts would be felt most severely in Russia, Ukraine and neighboring areas.  Pre-COVID-19, Russia, was the 11th largest market for air transport services in terms of passenger numbers, including its large domestic market. Ukraine ranked 48.

The impact on airline costs as a result of fluctuations in energy prices or rerouting to avoid Russian airspace could have broader implications. Consumer confidence and economic activity are likely to be impacted even outside of Eastern Europe.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Travel Momentum Builds as Restrictions are Lifted

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IATA Travel Momentum Builds as Restrictions are Lifted - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, February 18, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data showing growing momentum in the recovery of air travel as restrictions are lifted. IATA reported a sharp 11-percentage point increase for international tickets sold in recent weeks (in proportion to 2019 sales).

– In the period around 8 February (7 day moving average) the number of tickets sold stood at 49% of the same period in 2019.
– In the period around 25 January (7 day moving average) the number of tickets sold stood at 38% of the same period in 2019.
– The 11-percentage point improvement between the January and February periods is the fastest such increase for any two-week period since the crisis began.

Progressive Alleviation of COVID-19 Measures

The jump in ticket sales comes as more governments announce a relaxation of COVID-19 border restrictions. An IATA survey of travel restrictions for the world’s top 50 air travel markets (comprising 92% of global demand in 2019 as measured by revenue passenger kilometers) revealed the growing access available to vaccinated travelers.

– 18 markets (comprising about 20% of 2019 demand) are open to vaccinated travelers without quarantine or pre-departure testing requirements.
– 28 markets are open to vaccinated travelers without quarantine requirements (including the 18 markets noted above). This comprises about 50% of 2019 demand.
– 37 markets (comprising about 60% of 2019 demand) are open to vaccinated travelers under varying conditions (18 having no restrictions, others requiring testing or quarantine or both).

These numbers reflect a spate of relaxations announced around the world, including in Australia, France, the Philippines, the UK, Switzerland, and Sweden among them.

“Momentum toward normalizing traffic is growing. Vaccinated travelers have the potential to travel much more extensively with fewer hassles than even a few weeks ago. This is giving growing numbers of travelers the confidence to buy tickets. And that is good news! Now we need to further accelerate the removal of travel restrictions. While recent progress is impressive, the world remains far from 2019 levels of connectivity. Thirteen of the top 50 travel markets still do not provide easy access to all vaccinated travelers. That includes major economies like China, Japan, Russia, Indonesia, and Italy,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

IATA continues to call for:

– Removing all travel barriers (including quarantine and testing) for those fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine,
– Enabling quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated travelers with a negative pre-departure antigen test result,
– Removing travel bans, and,
– Accelerating the easing of travel restrictions in recognition that travelers pose no greater risk for COVID-19 spread than already exists in the general population.

“Travel restrictions have had a severe impact on people and on economies. They have not, however, stopped the spread of the virus. And it is time for their removal as we learn to live and travel in a world that will have risks of COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. This means putting a stop to the singling out of the traveling population for special measures. In nearly all cases, travelers don’t bring any more risk to a market than is already there. Many governments have recognized this already and removed restrictions. Many more need to follow,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News