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Passengers confident in onboard safety according to study

The IATA study found that 86% of passengers felt safe when flying

Most air travellers are confident about the safety of air travel and support mask-wearing in the short-term, according to a recent study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The organisation carried out a passenger survey in May across 11 markets around the world, which revealed that 85% of respondents believe that aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, with 65% agreeing that the air is as clean as an operating room.

With regards to wearing masks on board, 83% of passengers are in favour, and 86% of those questioned support the strict enforcement of mask rules.

The study also found that 86% of those who have travelled since June 2020 felt safe on board due to the Covid-19 safety measures that have been introduced, with 89% believing that protective measures are well implemented and 90% agreeing that airline personnel do a good job of enforcing the measures.

IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “Air travellers recognise and value the safety measures put in place to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission during air travel. And they support the continuation of these measures as long as necessary, but they also don’t want the measures to become permanent.

“In the meantime, we all need to respect the rules and the safety of fellow passengers. It is unacceptable that unruly passenger incidents have doubled compared with 2019, and the increase in physically abusive behaviour is a cause for great concern.”

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey also revealed that the majority of respondents were frustrated with Covid-19 protocols. Rules and paperwork are challenging to understand for 70% of passengers and 67% considered it a hassle to arrange tests. The majority of passengers (89%) agreed that governments must standardise vaccinations and testing certifications.

Walsh added:“These responses should be a wake-up call to governments that they need to do a better job of preparing for a restart. Almost two-thirds of respondents plan to resume travel within a few months of the pandemic being contained [and borders opened]. And by the six-month mark almost 85% expect to be back to travel.

“To avoid overwhelming airports and border control authorities, governments need to agree to replace paper-based processes with digital solutions such as the IATA Travel Pass for vaccine and testing documentation.”

In May, IATA warned that airport processing times could reach eight hours per trip as traffic recovers, unless governments were able to adopt digitised solutions for Covid-19 checks.

Most respondents were in favour of the idea of using a mobile app to store their travel health credentials, with 87% supporting a secure digital system to manage their credentials, provided that they have full control of their vaccine/test data.

The IATA Travel Pass enables passengers to receive Covid-19 test results and verify they are eligible to undertake their journey through an ‘OK to Travel’ status. More than 50 airlines have signed up for trials in the coming weeks and months. 

For more information, visit iata.org.

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