Growing confidence in a return to air travel has emerged in a major consumer poll conducted by Iata.

But frustration with current travel restrictions and acceptance of a travel app to manage health credentials for travel also emerged in the global survey.

The study found:

  • 57% expect to be travelling within two months of the pandemic being contained (up from 49% in September 2020)
  • 72% want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible (up from 63% in September 2020)
  • 81% believe that they will be more likely to travel once they are vaccinated
  • 84% said they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at destination (largely unchanged from 83% in September 2020)
  • 56% believe that they will postpone travel until the economy stabilises (up from 65% in September 2020)

On Iata’s Travel Pass proposals:

  • 89% of respondents believe that governments need to standardise vaccine and testing certificates
  • 80% are encouraged by the prospect of the Iata Travel Pass app and would use it as soon as available
  • 78% will only use a travel credential app if they have full control over their data

On travel restrictions:

  • 88% believe that when opening borders, the right balance must be struck between managing Covid-19 risks and getting the economy going again
  • 85% believe that governments should set Covid-19 targets – such as testing capacity or vaccine distribution – to re-open borders
  • 84% believe that Covid-19 will not disappear, and we need to manage its risks while living and travelling normally
  • 68% agreed that their quality of life has suffered with travel restrictions
  • 49% believe that air travel restrictions have gone too far

Iata director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said: “The top priority of everybody at the moment is staying safe amid the Covid-19 crisis.

“But it is important that we map a way to being able to re-open borders, manage risks and enable people to get on with their lives. That includes the freedom to travel.

“It is becoming clear that we will need to learn to live and travel in a world that has Covid-19. Given the health, social and economic costs of travel restrictions, airlines should be ready to re-connect the world as soon as governments are able to re-open borders. That’s why a plan with measurable milestones is so critical. Without one, how can we be prepared for restart without an unnecessary delay?”

He added: “People want to get back to travel, but quarantine is the showstopper. As testing capacity and technology improves and the vaccinated population grows, the conditions for removing quarantine measures are being created. And this points us again towards working with governments for a well-planned re-opening as soon as conditions allow.”

Survey respondents sent a clear message on the importance of data security.

“We are designing Iata Travel Pass with the traveller in mind,” de Juniac insisted.

“Passengers keep all the data on their mobile devices, and they remain in full control of where that data goes. There is no central database.

“While we are making good progress with numerous trials, we are still awaiting the global standards for digital testing and vaccine certificates.

“Only with global standards and governments accepting them can we maximise efficiency and deliver an optimum travel experience.”