Dubai: Most passengers are confident about air travel safety and support mask-wearing in the short-term, but a majority are also frustrated with the hassle around COVID-19 protocols, according to a survey.
“A majority are frustrated with the ‘hassle factor’ around COVID-19 protocols, including confusion and uncertainty about travel rules, testing requirements, and excessive test costs,” said the survey, which was conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The survey, which consisted of 4,700 travelers in 11 markets, states that 85 per cent believe aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, while 65 per cent agree the air on an aircraft is as clean as an operating room.
Among those who have traveled since June 2020, 86 per cent felt safe onboard owing to COVID-19 measures. Passengers strongly support mask wearing onboard (83%) and strict enforcement of mask rules (86%), but a majority also believe the mask requirement should be ended as soon as possible.
“Air travelers recognize and value the safety measures put in place to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission during air travel, and they support the continuation of these measures as long as necessary,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
At the same time, participants admit that they struggle with the COVID-related rules and requirements and that this impacts their willingness to travel: 70% thought the rules and the accompanying paperwork were a challenge to understand; 67% saw arranging testing as a hassle; 89% agreed governments must standardize vaccinations/testing certifications.
“These responses should be a wake-up call to governments that they need to do a better job of preparing for a restart - to avoid overwhelming airports and border control authorities, governments need to agree to replace paper-based processes with digital solutions like the IATA Travel Pass for vaccine and testing documentation,” said Walsh.
Almost nine out of ten respondents like the idea of using a mobile app to store their travel health credentials and 87 per cent support a secure digital system to manage health credentials. However, 75 per cent say they will only use an app if they have full control of their vaccine or test data.