The last year has been really tough for aviation industries and airlines are still looking for ways to get back in the sky after the coronavirus pandemic brought it to a grinding halt. Such is the case for the parent company of British Airways. International Airlines Group or IAG, which is also the owner of carriers like Aer Lingus and Iberia, has announced an annual loss of around USD 9 billion. This huge loss is because of the pandemic that hit last year and brought down its passenger traffic to just one-third compared to a year earlier. IAG said in its earnings report that the consumer demand was down 87.2 percent in 2020 when compared to the same period of March to December in 2019. IAG said that the only solace it had was the cargo business.
IAG chief executive officer Luis Gallego said that the group was looking for a clear roadmap to bring the business by scaling back restrictions on travel at an appropriate time. “We are recommending common testing standards at the international level. Also, introducing digital health passes will help to scale back restrictions,” Gallego said. It must be noted that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently stated that its ‘IATA Travel Pass’ should be ready within few weeks. IATA Travel Pass is a kind of app for smartphones that verifies that the air traveler has been vaccinated or was tested negative for coronavirus.
IATA’s regional director of airports and external relations Vinoop Goel said that the key issue related to the pass is confidence. “Passengers need to be assured that the COVID-19 test would help them in entering the country. Also, governments need to believe that the tests undertaken by the passenger are accurate,” Goel said. However, there is no official word from the government or airlines on whether such a pass would be utilized. In January, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made negative COVID-19 test reports mandatory before boarding flights bound to the US.