Global air traffic has reduced drastically in 2020 due to coronavirus-triggered travel restrictions. The IATA represents around 290 airlines across the world comprising 82 per cent of global air traffic.
The IATA DG said he wanted to emphasise on how critical it is to open borders now and the reason why good news on vaccine progress "should not distract from activating testing fast".
"We have plans in place to support vaccine distribution. It will probably be the biggest airlift in history. But we literally cannot afford to wait for the majority to receive the vaccine before we reopen our borders. We must start reopening now without delay," he asserted.
According to IATA's assessment, COVID-19 vaccine won't be widely available till the second half of 2021.
Coronavirus-induced travel restrictions across the world has triggered a major crisis in the aviation sector, with many airlines struggling to survive.
Safely restarting global connectivity will help kickstart the global economy, save jobs and improve lives, de Juniac noted.
"That is why it is our top priority," he added.
The Indian government is in touch with Moderna, Pfizer, Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila over the progress of the clinical trials of each of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the pandemic.
However, Indian airlines have been permitted to operate special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May this year and under the bilateral air bubble pacts since July.
Under the bilateral air bubble pacts, the airlines of both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions. India has formed such pacts with around 20 countries.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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