One among the many industries that have been deeply impacted by this year’s unprecedented pandemic is the airline industry, especially as stay-at-home orders and country-wide lockdowns have become the norm, worldwide.
In fact, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported earlier in June that the airline industry is expected to lose close to $84 billion in 2020 alone. Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO explained the harsh reality of the matter: “Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation. On average, every day of this year will add $230 million to industry losses. In total that’s a loss of $84.3 billion. It means that—based on an estimate of 2.2 billion passengers this year—airlines will lose $37.54 per passenger. That’s why government financial relief was and remains crucial as airlines burn through cash.”
Governments and world leaders continue to be extremely cautious in how best to open their borders, and what stipulations have to be followed when entering their countries.
For example, the European Union continues to rigorously assess infection numbers and make dynamic solutions for international passengers coming into the region, such as targeted restrictions and the use of contact tracing apps.
Some countries are taking very strict measures, such as the government of India, which has stated that “International arrival passengers are exempted from quarantine (institutional quarantine & home quarantine) basis negative RT-PCR report. This test should be taken within 72 hours of departure or on arrival at the airport where the COVID19 testing facility is available.” The government also stipulates that “For passengers with no test report, [they] have to undergo mandatory 7 days of institutional quarantine, at their own cost and another 7 days of home quarantine on arrival in India.”
Indeed, thanks to coronavirus, air travel is not going back to “normal” anytime soon.
Fortunately, potential solutions are in the works. Earlier this week, the Commons Project Foundation, a non-profit public trust, announced that some of the world’s largest airlines and airports will soon be using the CommonPass application as a unified approach for travel.
Specifically, “The Commons Project, The World Economic Forum and a broad coalition of public and private partners are collaborating to launch CommonPass, a trusted, globally-interoperable platform for people to document their COVID-19 status (health declarations / PCR tests / vaccinations) to satisfy country entry requirements, while protecting their health data privacy.”
The press report states that as of now, “JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic will begin the roll-out of CommonPass in December on select flights departing from New York, Boston, London, and Hong Kong.”
As Paul Meyer, CEO of The Commons Project Foundation mentions in the press release, “The members of the CommonTrust Network are coming together to implement an inclusive global network designed to empower individuals with digital access to their health information so they can protect and improve their health, and demonstrate their health status to safely return to travel, work, school, and life, while protecting their data privacy.”
Indeed, if proven safe, efficacious, and viable, this solution may potentially be one way to significantly streamline international travel in a consistent and standardized manner.
Rest assured, in the coming months, there will likely be even more solutions that will emerge with the intent of tackling these issues. More airlines and airports across the world will likely sign-on to these programs as a means of continuing to open their borders. However, only time will tell how best to move forward from this unprecedented year.
This article originally appeared on Forbes