Air travel to outside Asia to recover faster than within region

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – International air travel beyond Asia is expected to recover sooner than between countries within the region, given the different Covid-19 vaccination rates and continued strict border measures imposed by governments, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Many Asian countries have tightened measures in recent months to contain the spread of the Delta variant, Mr Subhas Menon, director general of the 14-member AAPA, said during a briefing on Monday (Sept 13).

There will be some recovery for places where vaccination is higher, he said. “Inter-regional travel can take place because many places in the West are already opening travel from the Asia-Pacific region for the vaccinated,” Mr Menon said.

“Resources are constrained and the supply of vaccines is also constrained. So intra-regional travel will be held back for a while longer, hopefully not too long beyond the end of 2021.”

Some countries in Asia are shifting away from Covid-19-zero strategies and adopting a policy of living with the virus, backed by widespread vaccination, as they try to revive economies that have suffered from lengthy lockdowns. Singapore is taking steps to reopen and last week started allowing short-term, vaccinated visitors from Germany and Brunei.

“It is hard to say when the recovery will take place,” Mr Menon said. “Pent-up demand is there. We just need the right settings.”

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