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Covid travel pass era has already arrived

SEOUL – For passengers longing for the return of globetrotting, a ray of hope took flight this week: the international airline industry initiated the trial of a travel pass designed for the pandemic era.

On Monday, a two-week pilot trial of the International Air Transport Association’s digital Travel Pass started on Singapore Airlines’ Singapore-London route. The initiative is overdue, for perhaps no global sector has been as hard hit by Covid-19 as air travel.

Last year, international passenger demand was 75.6% below 2019 levels. Asia-Pacific airlines full-year traffic plunged 80.3% in 2020 compared with 2019, the deepest decline for any region. 

And the near-term outlook is bleak. IATA does not anticipate a return to pre-pandemic capacities for years.

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