In one of his first interviews as Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Willie Walsh, has praised the government of Singapore for their receptive attitude.
What is Singapore doing right?
Speaking at the World Aviation Festival, Walsh said that “airports would not be able to function unless we provide a digital solution”, branding the current situation of passengers needing a briefcase of paperwork as “chaos”.
When talking about government response, Walsh singled out Singapore’s government, stating that it had been “Very positive and that they were working with us [IATA]”.
Walsh added that a digital solution to the new Covid-19 paperwork now required during air travel would help make the experience as seamless as possible. Something which is needed if airports want to avoid large bottle necks at arrivals and departures.
Criticism of profiteering Covid tests
However, talking about global air travel, the Director General of IATA levelled heavy criticism at the cost of Covid tests, branding it as unacceptable and accusing companies of profiteering. In particular he singled out the UK’s testing system stating that:
If you fly into the UK on a three-day business [trip, or for] medical reasons, you’ve got to buy a package in advance to do a test on day two and day eight. Even though you won’t be there on day eight. This is nonsense.”
Whilst Walsh reiterated that people were happy to have systems in place to enable consumers to fly safely but insisted that “people should object when we see evidence of people being ripped off”.
The future of air travel
On the topic of the recovery of the travel sector, Walsh was optimistic, believing that leisure travel will recover swiftly, but that business travel will recover in time too. The Director General of IATA also said that he thought that aviation could be “smaller, more competitive [and] more focussed on environmental issues” going forward.
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