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Accelerate Asia Pacific Aviation Recovery Sustainably

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Accelerate Asia Pacific Aviation Recovery Sustainably - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXSingapore, Singapore, May 19, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Asia-Pacific states to further ease border measures to accelerate the region’s recovery from COVID-19.

“Asia-Pacific is playing catch-up on restarting travel after COVID-19, but there is growing momentum with governments lifting many travel restrictions. The demand for people to travel is clear. As soon as measures are relaxed there is an immediate positive reaction from travelers. So it is critical that all stakeholders, including governments are well-prepared for the restart. We cannot delay. Jobs are at stake and people want to travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, in his keynote address at the Changi Aviation Summit.

The Asia-Pacific region’s international passenger demand for March reached 17% of pre-COVID levels, after having hovered at below 10% for most of the last two years. “This is far below the global trend where markets have recovered to 60% of pre-crisis levels. The lag is because of government restrictions. The sooner they are lifted, the sooner we will see a recovery in the region’s travel and tourism sector, and all the economic benefits that will bring,” said Walsh.

Walsh urged Asia-Pacific governments to continue easing measures and bring normalcy to air travel by:

– Removing all restrictions for vaccinated travelers.
– Removing quarantine and COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated travelers where there are high levels of population immunity, which is the case in most parts of Asia.
– Lift the mask mandate for air travel when it is no longer required in other indoor environments and public transport.

“Supporting and more importantly accelerating the recovery will need a whole of industry and government approach. Airlines are bringing back the flights. Airports need to be able to handle the demand. And governments need to be able to process security clearances and other documentation for key personnel efficiently,” said Walsh.

China and Japan

Walsh noted that there are two big gaps in the Asia-Pacific recovery story: China and Japan.

“So long as the Chinese government continues to maintain their zero-COVID approach, it is hard to see the country’s borders reopening. This will hold back the region’s full recovery.

While Japan has taken steps to allow travel, there is no clear plan for the reopening of Japan for all inbound visitors or tourists. More needs to be done to further ease travel restrictions, starting with lifting quarantine for all vaccinated travelers, and removing both the on-arrival airport testing and daily arrival cap. I urge the government of Japan to take bolder steps towards recovery and opening of the country’s borders,” said Walsh.

Sustainability

Walsh also called on Asia-Pacific governments to support the industry’s sustainability efforts.

“Airlines have committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. A key to our success will be governments sharing the same vision. There are high expectations for governments to agree a long-term goal at the ICAO Assembly later this year. Achieving net zero requires everyone to shoulder their responsibility. And among the most important things that governments should do is incentivizing the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Airlines have bought every drop of SAF that is available. Projects are underway that will see a rapid increase in SAF production over the next years. We see SAF contributing to 65% of the mitigation needed to achieve net zero in 2050. That will require governments to be much more proactive,” said Walsh.

Walsh acknowledged that there have been positive developments in Asia-Pacific. Japan has committed considerable funds for green aviation initiatives. New Zealand and Singapore have agreed to cooperate on green flights. “Singapore’s cross industry International Advisory Panel on a sustainable aviation air hub is a positive example for other states to adopt,” said Walsh. He also called on ASEAN and its partners to do more, particularly looking for opportunities in the region to expand SAF production.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA: Guidance to Remove Mask Mandate, Step Towards Normality

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IATA Guidance to Remove Mask Mandate, Step Towards Normality - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, May 12, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed new guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) removing its recommendation that masks should be required in-flight.

EASA’s updated Aviation Health Safety Protocol, published 11 May, calls for the mandatory mask rule to be relaxed where rules have been relaxed for other transport modes. This important shift reflects the high levels of vaccination, natural immunity levels, and the removal of domestic restrictions in many European nations. The updated guidance also acknowledges the need to move from an emergency situation to a more sustainable mode of managing COVID-19.

“We welcome EASA’s recommendation to relax the mask mandate, which is another important step along the road back to normality for air passengers. Travelers can look forward to freedom of choice on whether to wear a mask. And they can travel with confidence knowing that many features of the aircraft cabin, such as high frequency air exchange and high efficiency filters, make it one of the safest indoor environments,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Several jurisdictions still maintain mask requirements. That is a challenge for airlines and passengers flying between destinations with different requirements. “We believe that mask requirements on board aircraft should end when masks are no longer mandated in other parts of daily life, for example theatres, offices or on public transport. Although the European protocol comes into effect next week, there is no globally consistent approach to mask-wearing on board aircraft. Airlines must comply with the regulations applicable to the routes they are operating. The aircraft crew will know what rules apply and it is critical that passengers follow their instructions. And we ask that all travelers be respectful of other people’s decision to voluntarily wear masks even if it not a requirement,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA: Passenger Recovery Accelerates in February

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IATA Passenger Recovery Accelerates in February - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, April 20, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that air travel posted a strong rebound in February 2022 compared to January 2022, as Omicron-related impacts moderated outside of Asia. The war in Ukraine, which began on 24 February, did not have a major impact on traffic levels.

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 traffic in February 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 115.9% compared to February 2021. That is an improvement from January 2022, which was up 83.1% compared to January 2021. Compared to February 2019, however, traffic was down 45.5%.

– February 2022 domestic traffic was up 60.7% compared to the year-ago period, building on a 42.6% increase in January 2022 compared to January 2021. There was wide variation in markets tracked by IATA. Domestic traffic in February was 21.8% below the volumes of February 2019.

– International RPKs rose 256.8% versus February 2021, improved from a 165.5% year-over-year increase in January 2022 versus the year-earlier period. All regions improved their performance compared to the prior month. February 2022 international RPKs were down 59.6% compared to the same month in 2019.

“The recovery in air travel is gathering steam as governments in many parts of the world lift travel restrictions. States that persist in attempting to lock-out the disease, rather than managing it, as we do with other diseases, risk missing out on the enormous economic and societal benefits that a restoration of international connectivity will bring,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

International Passenger Markets

– European carriers saw their February traffic rise 380.6% versus February 2021, improved over the 224.3% increase in January 2022 versus the same month in 2021. Capacity rose 174.8%, and load factor climbed 30.3 percentage points to 70.9%.

– Asia-Pacific airlines had a 144.4% rise in February traffic compared to February 2021, up somewhat over the 125.8% gain registered in January 2022 versus January 2021. Capacity rose 60.8% and the load factor was up 16.1 percentage points to 47.0%, the lowest among regions.

– Middle Eastern airlines’ traffic rose 215.3% in February compared to February 2021, well up compared to the 145.0% increase in January 2022, versus the same month in 2021. February capacity rose 89.5% versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 25.8 percentage points to 64.7%.

– North American carriers experienced a 236.7% traffic rise in February versus the 2021 period, significantly increased compared to the 149.0% rise in January 2022 over January 2021. Capacity rose 91.7%, and load factor climbed 27.4 percentage points to 63.6%.

– Latin American airlines’ February traffic rose 242.7% compared to the same month in 2021, well up over the 155.2% rise in January 2022 compared to January 2021. February capacity rose 146.3% and load factor increased 21.7 percentage points to 77.0%, which was the highest load factor among the regions for the 17th consecutive month.

– African airlines had a 69.5% rise in February RPKs versus a year ago, a large improvement compared to the 20.5% year-over-year increase recorded in January 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. February 2022 capacity was up 34.7% and load factor climbed 12.9 percentage points to 63.0%.

– Brazil’s domestic traffic was up 32.5% in February, compared to February 2021, which was a slowdown compared to the 35.5% year-over-year growth recorded in January.

– US domestic RPKs rose 112.5% year-on-year in February, an improvement compared to the 98.4% rise in January versus the prior year.

2022 vs 2019

The accelerated growth recorded in February 2022 compared to a year ago, is helping passenger demand catch-up to 2019 levels. Total RPKs in February were down 45.5% compared to February 2019, well ahead of the 49.6% decline recorded in January versus the same month in 2019. The domestic recovery continues to outpace that of international markets.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Annual General Assembly to Take Place in Doha Qatar

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IATA Annual General Assembly to Take Place in Doha Qatar - QATARTOURISM.org - TRAVELINDEXDoha, Qatar, March 31, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the 78th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit will take place 19-21 June 2022 in Doha, Qatar, hosted by Qatar Airways. This will be the second time that the global gathering of aviation’s top leaders will be held in Qatar; the first being in 2014.

Originally, the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit were planned for the same dates in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, hosted by China Eastern Airlines. The decision to change the venue reflects continuing COVID-19 related restrictions on travel to China.

“It is deeply disappointing that we are a not able to meet in Shanghai as planned. In the meantime, we are pleased to be returning to the dynamic aviation hub of Doha and the warm hospitality for which Qatar Airways, our host airline, has become famous. This year’s AGM will be an important opportunity for aviation’s leaders to reflect on the shifting political, economic, and technological realities facing air travel as the industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic gathers pace,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Announces First Industry-Developed Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology

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IATA Announces First Industry-Developed Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, March 25, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the launch of the IATA Recommended Practice Per-Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology. IATA’s Methodology, using verified airline operational data, provides the most accurate calculation methodology for the industry to quantify CO2 emissions per passenger for a specific flight.

As travelers, corporate travel managers, and travel agents are increasingly demanding precise flight CO2 emission information, an accurate and standardized calculation methodology is critical. This is particularly true in the corporate sector where such calculations are needed to underpin voluntary emissions reductions targets.

“Airlines have worked together through IATA to develop an accurate and transparent methodology using verified airline operational data. This provides the most accurate CO2 calculation for organizations and individuals to make informed choices about flying sustainably. This includes decisions on investing in voluntary carbon offsetting or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) use,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

IATA’s Methodology takes into account the following factors:

– Guidance on fuel measurement, aligned with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)
– Clearly defined scope to calculate CO2 emissions in relation to airlines’ flying activities
– Guidance on non-CO2 related emissions and Radiative Forcing Index (RFI)
– Weight based calculation principle: allocation of CO2 emission by passenger and belly cargo
– Guidance on passenger weight, using actual and standard weight
– Emissions Factor for conversion of jet fuel consumption to CO2, fully aligned with CORSIA
– Cabin class weighting and multipliers to reflect different cabin configurations of airlines
– Guidance on SAF and carbon offsets as part of the CO2 calculation

“The plethora of carbon calculation methodologies with varying results creates confusion and dents consumer confidence. Aviation is committed to achieving net zero by 2050. By creating an accepted industry standard for calculating aviation’s carbon emissions, we are putting in place essential support to achieve this goal. The IATA Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology is the most authoritative tool and it is ready for airlines, travel agents, and passengers to adopt,” added Walsh.

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

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

Avolon and AirAsia Partner to Create Transformational Ride Sharing Platform

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Avolon and AirAsia Partner to Create Transformational Ride Sharing Platform

Dublin, Ireland, February 17, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, today announces that one of the world’s leading airline groups, AirAsia Aviation Group Limited (AirAsia), has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to lease a minimum of 100 VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon.

These eVTOL aircraft will allow AirAsia to further revolutionise air travel by providing advanced air mobility to a whole new range of passengers, transforming how we all connect more efficiently in our everyday lives.

In addition to the eVTOL aircraft, Avolon, through its investment and innovation affiliate Avolon-e, will partner with AirAsia to commercialise zero-emissions eVTOL aircraft and develop an industry leading urban air mobility (‘UAM’) platform in Southeast Asia. Avolon and AirAsia will form a working group to pursue local certification, research potential market opportunities and infrastructure requirements for UAM. AirAsia will also leverage its successful travel and lifestyle mobile app, the AirAsia Super App, to help support and build an eVTOL ride sharing platform with Avolon.

Avolon VX4 Order book
In June 2021, Avolon ordered 500 VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Vertical Aerospace (NYSE: EVTL) (‘Vertical’), valued at US $2 billion. Since announcing that order, Avolon placed 250 VX4 aircraft with Gol and Grupo Comporte in Brazil, up to 100 aircraft with Japan Airlines in Japan, and a minimum of 100 aircraft with AirAsia. As a result, Avolon has now placed up to 90% of its initial orderbook, underlining the demand for VX4 aircraft from the world’s leading airlines.

Dómhnal Slattery, CEO of Avolon commented: “Tony Fernandes is an aviation pioneer who has built AirAsia into one of the leading airlines in the world and has now also created Southeast Asia’s fastest growing Super App anchored on travel. We are delighted to partner with AirAsia who share our vision of revolutionising the future of air travel. We look forward to working with Tony, and the AirAsia team, on their eVTOL journey. Together we will develop a ride sharing platform and bring the zero-emissions VX4 aircraft into service, positioning AirAsia as the operator of choice for sustainable air travel in the region.”

Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A commented: “Innovation has always been in our DNA and using technology to look at more efficient and sustainable ways of doing things is a core focus across Capital A (formerly AirAsia Group). We are now much more than just an airline with over 20 products and services on our super app leveraging off each other including flights, hotels, food, retail, delivery, ride hailing and more. I am truly excited about this partnership between Avolon and AirAsia and the potential for zero-emissions ultra-short-haul air travel in Southeast Asia. The digital era is now. In the VX4, we have identified what we believe will be the eVTOL aircraft of choice and we are thrilled to be the launch airline for the aircraft in Southeast Asia. We are also delighted to extend our long-standing relationship with Avolon, which has a proven track record of delivering for its customers and is in sync with our goal to become the leading one stop travel and delivery platform in Asean.”

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Vertical commented: “We are delighted that AirAsia is the latest leading airline committing to lease our zero-emissions VX4 aircraft. AirAsia provides many fantastic opportunities to travel around some of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world, and I am thrilled that we will be bringing zero emissions flight to people all across Asia.”

About VX4 eVTOL Aircraft
VX4 eVTOL Aircraft The four passenger, one pilot VX4 is projected to have speeds up to 200mph, a range over100 miles, near silent when in flight, zero operating emissions and low cost per passenger mile. The VX4 is expected to open up advanced air mobility to a whole new range of passengers and transform how we travel. Find out more: vertical-aerospace.com

About Avolon
Headquartered in Ireland, with offices in the United States, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, Avolon provides aircraft leasing and lease management services. Avolon is 70% owned by an indirect subsidiary of Bohai Leasing Co., Ltd., a public company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SLE: 000415) and 30% owned by ORIX Aviation Systems, a subsidiary of ORIX Corporation which is listed on the Tokyo and New York Stock Exchanges (TSE: 8591; NYSE: IX). Avolon is the world’s second largest aircraft leasing business with an owned, managed and committed fleet, as of 31 December 2021 of 824 aircraft.

About Vertical Aerospace
Vertical Aerospace is pioneering electric aviation. The company was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, an established entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Ovo Group, a leading energy and technology group and Europe’s largest independent energy retailer. Over the past five years, Vertical has focused on building the most experienced and senior team in the eVTOL industry, who have over 1,700 combined years of engineering experience, and have certified and supported over 30 different civil and military aircraft and propulsion systems.

Vertical’s top-tier partner ecosystem is expected to de-risk operational execution and its pathway to certification allows for a lean cost structure and enables production at scale. Vertical has a market-leading pre-order book (by value) for a total of up to 1,350 aircraft from American Airlines, Avolon, Bristow and Iberojet, which includes conditional pre-order options from Virgin Atlantic and Marubeni, and in doing so, is creating multiple potential near term and actionable routes to market.

About AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd (AAAGL)
AAAGL is the holding company that oversees all airlines in Capital A (formerly AirAsia Group Berhad), as well as related international support functions including AirAsia Consulting, shared corporate services division AirAsia SEA, the Santan food group and the ground handling services joint venture business called GTR.

About Capital A
Capital A is an investment holding company with a portfolio of synergistic travel and lifestyle businesses that leverage data and technology to deliver the best value at the lowest cost, supported by high quality data and one of Asia’s leading brands that remains committed to serving the underserved.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Time to End US Pre-Departure Testing for Fully Vaccinated Travelers

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Time to End US Pre-Departure Testing for Fully Vaccinated Travelers - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, February 8, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in partnership with Airlines for America (A4A) and 28 US and international aviation and travel and tourism stakeholder groups, urged the US government to remove the pre-departure testing requirement for fully vaccinated air travelers flying to the US.

The vaccinated traveler population adds no additional risks to the domestic US population. Increased immunity levels, the pervasiveness of COVID-19 in all 50 US states, rising vaccination rates and new therapeutics, all point to removing the testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers.

“The experience of Omicron has made it clear that travel restrictions have little to no impact in terms of preventing its spread. Moreover, as Omicron is already broadly present across the US, fully vaccinated travelers bring no extra risk to the local population. International travelers should face no additional screening requirements than what is applied to domestic travel. In fact, at this stage of the pandemic, travel should be managed in the same way as access to shopping malls, restaurants or offices,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

More than 74.3 million people — meaning at least 22% of the US population — have had COVID-19, and that is almost certainly an undercount owing to asymptomatic infections and limited testing early in the pandemic. When combined with an adult population that is 74% fully vaccinated, it is clear that the US is developing very high levels of population immunity.

The organizations also noted that the EU has recommended that its member states remove COVID-19 travel restrictions for travel within the EU, and the United Kingdom has announced the removal of COVID-19 pre-departure testing for vaccinated air travellers to enter the country. The UK concluded that the cost to both passengers and airlines of the testing mandate could no longer be justified as there was no evidence the regime protected the population from COVID-19.

Recent research by Oxera and Edge Health in Italy, Finland, and the UK all support the conclusion that travel measures do little to control the spread of COVID-19 when it is already broadly present in the local population. The studies found that, if implemented at a very early stage, travel restrictions may at best delay the peak of a new wave by a few days and marginally reduce the number of cases.

Furthermore, IATA’s most recent air traveler survey showed that 62% of respondents support removing a testing requirement for those who are fully vaccinated.

“Removing the pre-departure testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers will greatly support the recovery of travel and aviation in the US and globally without increasing the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in the US population. There is no use in closing the barn door after the horse has bolted,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News