A new report has shed a light on the concerns that travelers have around air travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), demonstrates that their willingness to travel is being tempered by concerns over the risks of catching the virus during air travel.

Being in a crowded bus/train on the way to the aircraft bothered 59% of respondees, queuing at check-in/security/border control or boarding worried 42% of travelers, and 38% were concerned about using airport restrooms/toilet facilities. Once on board the aircraft, a massive two-thirds of passengers (65%) were concerned about sitting next to someone who might be infected wuth the virus, using restrooms/toilet facilities on board the plane worried 42%, and 37% were concerned about breathing the air on the plane.

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When asked to rank the top three measures that would make them feel safer, 37% cited COVID-19 screening at departure airports, 34% agreed with mandatory wearing of face masks and 33% went for social distancing measures on aircraft. Some 58% of those surveyed revealed that they have avoided air travel, with 33% suggesting that they will avoid travel in future as a continued measure to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19. Passengers themselves displayed a willingness to play a role in keeping flying safe by undergoing temperature checks (43%), wearing a mask during travel (42%), checking-in online to minimize interactions at the airport (40%), taking a COVID-19 test prior to travel (39%) and sanitizing their seating area (38%).

A medical worker in a protective suit taking a swab for coronavirus from a young woman
39% of travelers are wiling to take a COVID-19 test prior to travel © microgen/Getty Images

“People are clearly concerned about COVID-19 when traveling," says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO. "But they are also reassured by the practical measures being introduced by governments and the industry under the Take-off guidance developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These include mask-wearing, the introduction of contactless technology in travel processes and screening measures. This tells us that we are on the right track to restoring confidence in travel. But it will take time. To have maximum effect, it is critical that governments deploy these measures globally.”

To read the full IATA COVID-19 Passenger Survey, see here.

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