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    Wednesday, February 23, 2022

    IATA Reports Increase in Air Travel As Restrictions Are Lifted

    The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says new data shows “a growing momentum in the recovery of air travel” as restrictions continue to lift around the world.

    The association said there had been a jump in ticket sales in recent weeks, with an 11-percentage point increase in international tickets sold between January 25 and February 8, compared to the same period in 2019.

    "During the period under review, from about February 8, 2022 (seven-day moving average) the number of tickets sold stood at 49 per cent of the same period in 2019 and in the period around 25 January (seven-day moving average) the number of tickets sold stood at 38 per cent of the same period in 2019, "it stated.

    It noted that 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.

    IATA stated that the jump in ticket sales came as more governments announced a relaxation of COVID-19 border restrictions.

    IATA said these numbers reflect a spate of relaxations announced around the world, including in Australia, France, the Philippines, the UK, Switzerland Sweden among others.

    "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 IATA's Director General, Willie Walsh.

    "To further boost air travel IATA has continued 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, "Walsh said.

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