COVID-19 impact on global travel continues to be grim. International air travel will remain in deep crisis and will be just 22 per cent in 2021 as compared to the 2019 levels, said Conrad Clifford, Deputy Director General of global airlines body IATA on Monday.
"The lack of harmonised border measures, restrictions and procedures is a major cause of the failure to restart (international) travel," he said during a media briefing here at the 77th annual general meeting of International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to aviation industry sources, just around 20 per cent of pre-COVID international flights are being operated from India right now.
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, special flights have been permitted under "air bubble" arrangements that India has formed with approximately 28 countries.
Under an air bubble arrangement, airlines of one country are permitted to operate limited International passenger flights to the other''s territory with specific restrictions.
When IATA analysed the entry restrictions of the top 50 air travel markets of the world, it was observed that seven countries have no restrictions, five have no entry restrictions but you might still have to quarantine, Clifford mentioned here.
"Meanwhile, 38 have restrictions of the bewildering variety," he stated.
For example, out of the 38 countries where restrictions are still in place, 24 differentiate based on some sort of country risk categorisation, but there is little consistency in the risk categorisation, Clifford said.
"The same country may appear on one state's green list, another state's amber list, and another state's red list," he added.
On Sunday, Lufthansa group's CEO Carsten Spohr had said here that restricting air traffic between India and Germany is hurting both the economies and the airline group is eagerly waiting for the Indian government to allow more flights between the two countries.
Indian aviation regulator DGCA currently allows Lufthansa to operate just 10 weekly flights from India to Germany, after it had accused the airline in September 2020 of being beneficiary of "inequitable distribution" of traffic.
(With inputs from PTI)
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