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.

Lori Ranson

Lori covers North American and Latin airlines for Aviation Week and is also a Senior Analyst for CAPA - Centre for Aviation.