Analysis for The Americas
Until this past week many of us may never have heard of Omicron. It is actually the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet and its literal translation from Greek means "small o". However, ‘Oh’, might actually now be a better definition of this new variant of COVID-19 which has spooked governments across the world into again tightening restrictions. This has seen travel bans introduced from southern Africa, where it appears to have originated, and the derailing of recovery strategies in countries such as Australia and Singapore.
Each week, CAPA – Centre for Aviation produces informative, thought provoking and detailed market analysis of the aviation industry. With supporting data included in every analysis, CAPA provides unrivalled and unparalleled intelligence. Here’s some of the reports published over the past week.
Charting the trends – flexibility is key to the recovery as fashions in business travel continue to shift
While many organisations have implemented successful WorkAnywhere strategies, employees are “anxious to return to in-person meetings and events”. Virtual meetings are a viable option, “but a contingent feel that a lack of in-person meetings limits their ability to build client relationships” and as such “business leaders are ready to take to the skies and roads again”.
Across 2021, airline CEOs from all parts of the world have spoken openly at the monthly CAPA Live virtual summit about air travel, the coronavirus crisis and the path to recovery. To say 2020 and 2021 have been a challenge for these professionals is a major understatement and each shares the journey for their respective airlines through one of the biggest crises to hit the world.
Less than a one in a million risk – testing ‘significantly mitigates the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission during airline travel’
Real-world data from nearly 10,000 air travellers has provided further backing to pre-flight testing as a key part of the air travel recovery process at time that more countries are starting to consider revised travel requirements. The research from US major Delta Air Lines suggests that the risk of exposure to COVID-19 while travelling if all passengers have tested negative 72 hours in advance of your flight is less than 0.1%.
Clearing the next hurdle – two in three US business travellers plan to reduce trips amid rising COVID-19 cases across the country
As confidence was truly building across the US and business travels rising, new research for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) shows that US business travellers are scaling back travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases across the country.
Charting the trends – ‘no vaccine, no entry!’ This may not yet be widespread, but a growing number are now backing calls for vaccine passports
The potential to impose vaccine passports on international arrivals or even to access bars or restaurants will not please everybody, but it is a key part of the arsenal on offer to governments to combat COVID-19 spread. Canada, for example, has restricted arrivals to fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents as part of its phased reopening. Others have adopted similar requirements.
Uncertainty and continued COVID transmission continues to cloud travel recovery – airlines report uptick in booking cancellations as Delta variant hurts sentiment
Since the mutation was first identified there were concerns from the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant that it was more infectious and potentially more deadly than previous forms. With enough data now available research now confirms this, albeit vaccinations are proving a strong weapon in limiting the efficacy of the strain’s attack.
Weakening of China domestic market ‘poses a risk’ to travel recovery, but US domestic bookings are now near to pre-pandemic levels
The strong forecast sentiment for travel has translated into the return of traffic, in domestic markets at least, where the removal of restrictions has permitted mobility. There are even positive signs on the return of business travel with the slow removal of international restrictions now also allowing foreign visits. While the majority of these remain for leisure purposes there is increasing evidence that business travel rates are on the rise.
Confidence about travel plans is growing, but rise of COVID-19 variants is pushing back travel restart dates in some regions
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has reported confidence among its clients about travel plans is growing, but the rise of COVID-19 variants is pushing back travel restart dates in some regions. The findings of its Jun-2021 Travel Client Check-In Survey showed very positively that almost all intend to return to travel before the end of the year, but that is more likely now to take place in 4Q 2021.