Consumer confidence in the air travel industry has taken a dramatic hit due to Covid-19. For international travel to resume, the need for internationally recognised standards that are safe for both passengers and staff is crucial.

Heathrow Airport is the first airport in the UK to begin the trial of health screening initiatives such as facial recognition thermal screening technology (to track body temperature), UV sanitation (to sanitise security trays) and contact-free security screening equipment (to reduce close contact). If testing at Heathrow Airport proves successful, similar procedures will be rolled out across the remaining UK airports, offering a glimpse in to what travel may look like in the future.

For the prospect of international travel to be deliberated, there is a crucial need for common international screening standards to be recognised worldwide.

For air travel to resume, reassurance must be guaranteed

Over 50% of global international travel trips have been cancelled or changed due to travel restrictions, according to GlobalData’s latest Covid-19 consumer survey. As the impact on travel plans is stark, this highlights that pent-up demand is likely to have occurred during lockdown periods, creating a surge in international travel when restrictions are lifted.

Although, the same survey also found that 49% of the population are still extremely concerned about the global outbreak of Covid-19. It is unknown how much the ‘fear factor’ will impact the confidence of travellers to venture to outbound destinations.

Consumer confidence will return but it is clear that there is still a long, winding road ahead. For travel to resume, health standards of airlines must be standardised across the board.

Common international standards need to be set

Most countries around the world were testing inbound travellers once arriving in their destination before the pandemic reached its peak. However, these measures have not been standardised and the need for collaboration between countries is vital for future travel.

CEO of Heathrow Airport, John Holland Kaye, announced that governments should be taking the lead in agreeing a common international standard in the approach to health and safety in airports. The priority should be to minimise the transmission of Covid-19 across borders. The technological developments currently being trialled at Heathrow could soon offer a global solution.

The airline industry has suffered greatly due to Covid-19 related impacts and has encountered dramatic losses. Q1 financial results for airlines have illustrated a substantial hit due to tumultuous decline in demand. The sooner health standards are reestablished; the sooner confidence in travellers can be restored, meaning that airlines and airports can begin to recover.