There is no conclusive evidence on the anticipated impact of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, so airlines are unable to predict travel demand as they wait for that data.
While IATA reported some short-term capacity reductions and a “slight” drop in forwards bookings during a briefing on December 8, they indicated a confident evaluation of Omicron’s impact is still some time away.
This is partly due to a shortage of health data and because the airline industry had evolved much since the Delta variant’s demise merely a year ago.
Customers may have hardened their attitude to government restrictions and the dangers of Covid-19 in places where travel is possible. Although some people may still find the effort, risks, and costs of travelling excessive, a considerable number of people may not.
According to Willie Walsh, the director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), consumers are adapting to the pandemic at a considerably faster rate than governments.
According to him, “We’ve become specialists in the variants, viruses; we’ve all known that there will be new versions uncovered, and we’re just waiting for what they are going to call it.”
Walsh urges governments to provide travellers with information about the risks of travel so they may make an informed decision, noting that several nations had tightened borders after Omicron had already entered their country.
In recent days, it emerged that the World Health Organization (WHO), which is aware of the damaging consequences of red listing countries during the pandemic, is an industry ally.
According to the global body, “Blank travel bans will not prevent the international spread [of Covid-19], and they inflict a significant burden on lives and livelihoods.” “In addition, they can have a detrimental impact on world health efforts during a pandemic by discouraging countries from reporting and sharing data on epidemiological and sequencing.”
In any event, the airline industry should take heart because the pandemic’s impact on travel restrictions is decreasing in some of the right places.