At least three in every 10 air travellers have vowed not to fly anytime soon over possible coronavirus infection during travel. The finding, courtesy of a global survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), showed that a lot of the travelling public were still wary, demanding that both operators and governments should do more to restore confidence. Meanwhile, stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to consider reopening the international airspace soon, to further drive confidence among air travellers and aid recovery of the local market. The 11-country survey, which was conducted during the first week of June 2020, assessed travellers’ concerns during the pandemic and the potential timelines for their return to travel. This is the third wave of the survey, with previous waves conducted at the end of February and the beginning of April. All those surveyed had taken at least one flight since July 2019.
Indeed, travellers are taking precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 with 77 per cent saying that they are washing their hands more frequently, 71 per cent avoiding large meetings and 67 per cent having worn a face mask in public. Some 58 per cent of those surveyed said that they have avoided air travel, with 33 per cent suggesting that they will avoid travel in future as a continued measure to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19.
Travellers identified their top concerns, which include being in a crowded bus/train on the way to the aircraft (59 per cent), sitting next to someone who might be infected (65 per cent), queuing at check-in/security/border control or boarding (42 per cent), using restrooms/toilet facilities (42 per cent), using airport restrooms/toilet facilities (38 per cent) and breathing the air on the plane (37 per cent)
When asked to rank the top three measures that would make them feel safer, 37 per cent cited COVID-19 screening at departure airports, 34 per cent agreed with mandatory wearing of facemasks and 33 per cent noted physical distancing measures on aircraft.
Passengers themselves displayed a willingness to play a role in keeping flying safe. This is by undergoing temperature checks (43 per cent), wearing a mask during travel (42 per cent), checking-in online to minimise interactions at the airport (40 per cent), taking a COVID-19 test prior to travel (39 per cent) and sanitising their seating area (38 per cent).
IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac, said people were clearly concerned about COVID-19 when travelling. “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 Organisation (ICAO).
– The Guardian.