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Travellers wary about flying again

8 Jul 2020

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) public opinion research has showed that most travellers are apprehensive of flying again soon due to concerns over the risks of catching COVID-19 during air travel.  

Some 58% of those surveyed said that they have avoided air travel, with 33% suggesting that they will avoid travel in future as a continued measure to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19. 

According to the survey, travelers were taking precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 with 77% saying that they are washing their hands more frequently, 71% avoiding large meetings and 67% having worn a face mask in public.  
The top three concerns identified by travelers at the airport included travelling in a crowded bus/train on the way to the aircraft (59%), queuing at check-in/security/border control or boarding (42%), and using airport restrooms/toilet facilities (38%).  

The top three concerns being on board an aircraft included sitting next to someone who might be infected (65%), using restrooms/toilet facilities (42%), and breathing the air on the plane (37%). 

When asked to rank the top three measures that would make them feel safer, 37% cited COVID-19 screening at departure airports, 34% agreed with mandatory wearing of face masks and 33% noted social distancing measures on aircraft. 

“People are clearly concerned about COVID-19 when traveling. But they are also reassured by the practical measures being introduced by governments and the industry under the take-off guidance developed by the International Civil

Aviation Organization (ICAO). These include mask-wearing, the introduction of contactless technology in travel processes and screening measures. This tells us that we are on the right track to restoring confidence in travel. But it will take time. To have maximum effect, it is critical that governments deploy these measures globally,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. 

Nearly half of those surveyed (45%) indicated the they would return to travel within a few months of the pandemic subsiding, this is a significant drop from the 61% recorded in the April survey. Overall, the survey results demonstrate that people have not lost their taste for travel, but there are hurdles to returning to pre-crisis levels of travel. 

A majority of travellers surveyed plan to return to travel to see family and friends (57%), for vacation (56%) or for business (55%) as soon as possible after the pandemic subsides. But, 66% said that they would travel less for leisure and business in the post-pandemic world and 64% indicated that they would postpone travel until economic factors improved.

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