The airline industry was one of the most stable and gradually improving industries. However, the year 2020 brought the entire aviation industry to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The WHO (World Health Organization) declared Coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
Every day thousands of flights are in the air taking passengers from one place to another. The Airports Council International (ACI) reported that in total, there was a reduction of 4.6 billion passengers in 2020. The airlines, big and small, and airports also suffered billions in financial losses due to a halt on air travel.
The countries most affected by the Coronavirus had to impose partial lockdowns and complete halt to international flights coming or going. People were asked to stay indoors, practice social distancing, and avoid traveling unnecessarily. The restrictions turn out to be quite valuable in containing the virus and flattening the curve. When we talk about continents, Europe and Asia saw many Coronavirus victims and positive cases.
The vaccination rollout programs and people receiving vaccinations are helping to resume air travel across the world. However, the recovery period will be slow and steady. The travel restrictions will start to ease in the second half, and the number of passengers will also increase.
Airports are part of the economic system and cater not only to the passengers but provide employment opportunities. There are not one but dozens of departments that function within an airport.
The Importance of Preventive Measures at Airports
Of all the different industries, air transport is the hardest hit by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Since last year there has been a disruption in global trade, economy, and mobility. However, in recent months things are coming back to normalcy.
The significant influence driving the change is the availability of a Coronavirus vaccine to prevent an individual from harmful effects of the virus. Airports all over the world are going through significant design changes. The health and well-being of the airport staff, passengers, is the utmost priority.
The major domestic and international airports have come up with many health and biosafety measures to ensure the health of everyone. One major step is Covid-19 testing in airports that helps to know if the traveling passenger is carrying the virus. The testing helps the airport authority ask the passenger to quarantine and maintain isolation to prevent transmission of the virus to another person.
The local government, airlines, and airports are all working to ensure the health of passengers and prevent the spread of the virus. The introduction of Coronavirus vaccinations and administration to millions of people has given hope air travel will fully resume in the summers.
However, the essential aspect for airports is to ensure that every passenger shows proof of getting a dose or two of the Coronavirus vaccine.
The Type of Vaccines that are must for Passengers
Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, nearly all the acclaimed pharmaceutical companies started researching and developing vaccines for the virus. The type of vaccines and the doses that travelers need to take and that are mandatory in most airports include
- Moderna vaccine, which is a two-dose RNA vaccine with 28 days interval and
- Pfizer, which is also a two-dose RNA vaccine at 28 days interval with 95% effectiveness
- Johnson & Johnson is a single dose vaccine
- AstraZeneca and Sputnik are Adenovirus The effectiveness of AstraZeneca is 62% to 90%, while the effectiveness of Sputnik is nearly 92%.
International travel is resuming step by step, and those passionate to travel are eager to board an aircraft. Experts expect an upsurge in people visiting tourist destinations after a hiatus of more than a year. Even after getting the vaccination doses, the airport authorities have to keep the Covid-19 protocols in place.
The airports and airlines are looking to install testing facilities to ensure the health and safety of travelers and employees; for those who have not had any vaccination dose are asked to be quarantined for a minimum of 7 days. It is not suitable to travel without vaccinations as you will have to quarantine, and your trip will not be of any value. International travelers need to get the testing done two or three days before their flight. The reason is that testing and getting the results takes from 48 hours to 72 hours.
How Testing at Airport a Necessary Solution
It has been almost a year and a half since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted everyday life across the world. The airports were as were the skies, albeit for few flights. However, advancement in technology is helping pave the way to encourage people to fly again. Now Covid-19 testing is mandatory before or after travel.
Coronavirus testing is not a cure as most people think, but it is necessary to prevent the virus from spreading. The testing on hundreds of patients can reveal data that can help to get insightful knowledge on the virus. The advantages include reducing transmission of the virus, activating contact tracing, and adherence to quarantine periods.
The innovative digital technology can help make the testing process viable, accurate, easy to use, and limit the cost. For example, if your testing is done, you can easily get the results on your smartphone rather than return to the airport. You can also show your record of getting private vaccination to the airport or airline authorities.
The results are digitally sent and automatically linked with the passengers’ boarding passes. The popular airports see many passengers every day, and testing each individual is quite challenging. However, pre-flight or pre-departure testing is feasible. One of the main reasons for testing is also removing the quarantine period. For example, if you are on vacation for 10 days, the minimum quarantine period is 12 days. Your trip and vacation will be of no use.
The fear of travel still looms in most people’s minds after a pandemic that has disrupted lifestyles across the globe. However, effective vaccine rollout and people showing healthy signs to the vaccine have given the green sign for air travel to resume. Experts say that it will take another year for the airlines and airport to recover from the losses due to Covid-19.