Does Full Airline Passenger Confidence Hinge On A COVID-19 Vaccine?

airport COVID-19 testing facility
Credit: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

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Is it realistic that only a working COVID-19 vaccine could provide the push to truly restore airline passenger confidence?

Lori Ranson, senior analyst for the Americas at Aviation Week’s CAPA - Centre for Aviation, answers:

With large numbers of passengers unlikely to be vaccinated before mid-2021 at the earliest, widespread and affordable testing is the key in the short-to-medium term to restoring passenger confidence and convincing governments to lift quarantines and other travel restrictions. That’s why you’ve seen, and continue to see, a flurry of announcements by airlines regarding trials of COVID-19 testing.

It seems as if tests are becoming crucial to jump-starting demand to a point where airlines can reach cash break-even on a consistent basis. Lowering the costs of testing is also crucial to expanding passenger confidence and stimulating travel. A $150 test could be cost-prohibitive for some customers, even with fares trending lower as airlines continue their efforts to encourage travel.