From digital certificates to health passports, countries and airlines across the globe are hoping to re-launch travel by letting people prove their Covid-free status. But with patchy vaccine access around the world and mounting concerns over data privacy, questions are swirling about how the measures will work in practice.
Regulators, insurers and experts are warning airlines to take extra care when reactivating planes left in extended storage during the Covid-19 pandemic, citing potential pilot rustiness, maintenance errors and even insect nests blocking key sensors.
LATAM Airlines, South America's largest carrier, on Tuesday said it had laid off 12,600 employees since March - or almost 30% of its pre-coronavirus workforce - due to the pandemic that has upended the global travel industry. The company also reported a net loss of US$ 890 million for the second quarter.
Airlines and airports have asked a United Nations-led task force meeting on Monday to recommend that countries accept a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of travel as an alternative to quarantines that have decimated demand for travel, according to a document seen by news agency Reuters.
The US government on Friday accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for US airlines to resume service to China and ordered four Chinese air carriers to file flight schedules with the US government. The administration of President Donald Trump stopped short of imposing restrictions on Chinese air carriers but said talks with China had failed to produce an agreement.
Berkshire Hathaway sold its entire stakes in the four largest US airlines in April, chairman Warren Buffett said on Saturday at the company's annual meeting, saying the world has changed for the aviation industry.
As passenger demand evaporated around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned airlines are fighting for survival. The airline association stated that airlines need $US200 billion in liquidity support as they face “apocalypse now.”
Sydney-based consultancy CAPA Center for Aviation warned in a statement on Monday that most of the world's airlines will be bankrupt by the end of May. Airline carriers are suspending routes for March, April, and May, and a full grounding of fleets has yet to be ruled out as flight restrictions have been placed across the world, spurring a collapse in demand, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Airlines operating in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose a combined US$27.8 billion of revenue this year in the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday.
Qantas Airways was named the safest airline in the world on a Top 20 list published by AirlineRatings.com, followed by Air New Zealand and Taiwan's Eva Airways. Singapore Airlines was sixth, Cathay Pacific Airways ninth and Virgin Australia Holdings 10th.