Travel demand to grow by Q4 2021

The President of Emirates Sir Tim Clark recently shared that the demand for air travel could come back at a ‘staggering rate’ by Q4 2021, if the vaccine programme beats the virus. He further reiterated that the low cost carriers would benefit especially from intra-European travel and domestic travel at present.

The ideal situation is that the vaccine programme beats the virus by autumn of this year and we get some relief, then demand will come back at a staggering rate. Low cost (airlines) will benefit from intra-European travel, the US domestic market, China’s domestic market and international travel will (also) return in large numbers, acoording to Sir Tim Clark.

“But the problem (with this scenario) will be two-fold. The ability of airlines to meet the demand when it comes and two, the conditionality of country access requirements,” he added. On the latter point, Sir Tim explained that even though there is massive pent-up demand, there may well be inhibitors too. Some passengers might be nervous and worried about variant strains of the coronavirus, the situation in India he said is creating a ripple effect across the global economy. Although airlines and airports had really worked hard to ‘sanitise’ how they managed passenger welfare, mitigating risk through their protocols, that alone would not be enough. “It’s a question of how we navigate the next six months and if we do it right with equitable vaccine distribution, testing regimes simplified and made cheaper, all of this lends to the theory that by the end of the year, we’ll be back in business in some scale,” he said.

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