Quarantine restrictions will be relaxed “by the end of the year or early next”, according to the head of airline association Iata.

Alexandre de Juniac, Iata director general, told a Future of Hospitality Summit: “The situation for aviation is catastrophic.

“Traffic at the end of the year will be around 35% of the 2019 level. With the cash airlines are eating month after month, we expect to need $70 billion to $80 billion for 2021.


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“We’ve already seen bankruptcies. There are airlines near bankruptcy. The lack of traffic means further bankruptcies are not impossible. The sector will be smaller and with fewer players.”

De Juniac said: “The main issue is governments travel restrictions. Traffic has stopped – especially international traffic.

“When there are quarantine restrictions, the level of bookings drops 100%. Nobody is ready to fly if there is a risk of quarantine.

“So we have to convince governments to remove quarantine. But because there is a risk to re-import the virus, we propose a system to test all passengers before they fly.”

He told the virtual summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia: “We recommend testing before departure for removing quarantine. We are working bilaterally with governments to convince them to work with the same system.

“Not everyone will come immediately, but we see a lot of interest from governments who are keen to restart their economies.”

“We will see quarantine moving by the end of the year or early next year.”

De Juniac insisted: “We are convinced [it] testing will come. People are ready to be tested.

“Rapid tests are available which cost about $6. They provide a very safe filter. If we think a test is safe, it is safe.”

He added: “We are convinced passengers will be back. It is demonstrated by the example of China. In China’s domestic market restrictions have been almost abolished and traffic is 90%-95% of before.”

But de Juniac warned: “Business travel is more worrisome. I’m not sure electronic systems will replace physical meetings especially when you talk about growth, development, new markets. [But] many companies have slashed their travel budgets so we will probably see less business traffic for that reason.”

He told the summit: “We are asking governments to reduce our costs and for massive financial support. Governments have injected enormous amounts into our industry, but we still need help.”

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