How Can Governments Best Help Airlines Recover From Pandemic?

COVID-19 safety sign at airport
Credit: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

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What do you see as the single most important action that governments should take to assist in the airline industry’s full recovery?

Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker answers:

Governments should remove all international border and quarantine restrictions and replace them with sensible, practical measures like preflight testing and contact tracing as well as airport and onboard hygiene measures such as using masks and disinfecting. People will return to international travel only if they can do so without quarantining in a foreign country or worrying about being quarantined on their return.

Until international travel returns to at least some degree of normalcy—it is extremely low right now, accounting for only about 5-15% of 2019 international levels—most airlines will not be able to make money and avoid bankruptcy.

Secondly, governments should permit airlines to sell all seats where they can, so carriers can at least break even on a flight, not incur more losses.

Karen Walker

Karen Walker is Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief and Aviation Week Network Group Air Transport Editor-in-Chief. She joined ATW in 2011 and oversees the editorial content and direction of ATW, Routes and Aviation Week Group air transport content.