The idea of having a travel corridor or bubble is a good instrument for restarting connections between two countries, locations or airports but it should not be made permanent, Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and Chief Executive Officer, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said on Wednesday.

“The corridor or bubble should not remain permanent — otherwise it will be extremely difficult to manage different types of corridors and bubbles...the complexities will be enormous. It will (be) difficult when the situation comes back to normal to dismantle these corridors and these exceptional measures to come back to the normal situation. So, we recommend temporary corridors as a good measure to restart,” he said in a global media conference call.

Emphasising the need for these measures being temporary, de Juniac said that after some time “we should go back to normal operations, meaning we implement the general guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force and Take Off (CART) Report and local government regulations and we fly under these regulations and following these guidelines.”

The ICAO CART report is aimed at providing practical, aligned guidance to governments and industry operators to restart international air transport sector and recover from the impact of Covid-19 on a coordinated global basis.

On Tuesday, India had announced that it is looking at the prospect of establishing individual bilateral bubbles between various countries including the UK, France, Germany and the US. This will mean that airlines from these countries will be able to operate flights to India and Air India will be able to fly to these countries.

Economic costs

Addressing the global media, Brian Pearce, Chief Economist, IATA, said that imposing a quarantine is equivalent to a full travel ban. “There are economic costs, these quarantines are being put in place for health reasons but governments need to take into account that there are economic costs to that decision not just because you will have fewer tourists but also there is an impact on trade as well,” he said.

Pearce added that in terms of booking data, it is clear that there is very little difference in those countries which have entry with a quarantine and those countries which have full travel bans for foreign nationals.