His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said that the increase in Coronavirus infections was a result of the demand for travel last December, stressing that it is difficult to limit travel to those who receive the vaccine only.
Al-Baker said – in an interview with Al-Jazeera channel – “At the present time we have tried the IATA passport (health passport) to one interface, which is Istanbul, and it was a very successful experience and it is important when travelers ascend that they know what laws are in force in the destination country because Covid 19 will not disappear. On the other hand, there is an increase in the number of people receiving the vaccine, and Qatar Airways carried out the first flight in the world with a crew and passengers who received the vaccine.
The CEO added: It is better for travelers to receive the vaccine before travel, but reality and numbers say that the vaccine will not be accessible to everyone, and therefore as an airline, it will be difficult for us to limit travel to vaccine recipients.
His Excellency indicated that the significant increase in demand for air travel in December 2020 led to a doubling of the number of infections in some countries, where there was a second and third wave, while countries suffered from a fourth wave.
He added: With the easing of precautionary measures such as social distancing and the prevention of mixing and gatherings, we are witnessing an increase in the rates of infection with the virus, and not only this, but there may be a mutation in the virus to become more virulent and thus not prevented by the vaccine.
On the recovery of the travel sector, he said: There will be a lot of pressure on airlines in the next 3 or 4 years, as tourist destinations have been affected severely, and the recovery will take time.
He continued: The important thing is that with countries easing their restrictions, people are difficult to control and they will believe that life has returned to normal in the pre-pandemic period and here begins the new wave of infections, and we must bear in mind that this virus has not been contained, and the pandemic will continue and waves You will chase if people do not abide by the recommendations of the health authorities and in return, this will lead to a recession in the global travel market.
In its report, Al-Jazeera indicated that Qatar Airways is the first airline in the Middle East to successfully complete the experience of the digital passport issued by the International Air Transport Association, and it is a smart application for mobile devices that allows travelers to create a digital passport designed to support safe return.