The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the government and politicians in Spain to agree a roadmap to energize the economic recovery from Covid-19 by restarting air transport services once the health situation permits.
More than 1.1 million jobs have been put at risk across the Spanish economy because of COVID-19 restrictions. The travel restrictions and quarantine measures introduced have dramatically affected air traffic to and from Spain. Demand in 2020 fell by 72%. Early booking data for 2021 shows a continued similar lack of demand.
Spain benefits hugely from tourism, which accounts for 12% of the country’s GDP. Some 82% of tourists arrive by air.
“With increased testing capacity and vaccine distribution progressing there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can foresee a time when the health situation permits travel again. But airlines need adequate time to prepare for when freedom of movement can be restored. The best way to revive the sector is for the government to work with industry on a roadmap that will enable a lifting of restrictions and establish a coordinated opening of the country. Only in this way will we achieve the predictability that industry and passengers need for a robust restart,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s regional vice president for Europe.
“We recognize that the government has a difficult balancing act between unlocking the economy and safeguarding public health. We are not demanding a date for border restrictions to be lifted. But Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and all policy-makers in Spain must agree a vision for how international travel can and will be restarted as the pandemic ends. That vision would include explaining how a phased reduction of restrictions would work, and the levels to which infections or hospitalizations would need to fall to trigger those reductions. With this science-based approach locked in, the industry and the public will have the certainty to plan for take-off,” said Schvartzman.