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Hot Summer of Bookings Ahead?

As we slowly crawl through the start of 2021, as the hopes many of us had slowly fades away and we continue with another wave of COVID related restrictions, we need to jump upon any glimmer of light.

IATA, the International Air Transport Association, has been talking at the CAPA Centre for aviation webinar. The IATA chief economist, Brian Pearce, says that the summer "could still be successful".

Even as news breaks that all travel corridors are to close this coming Monday, there is optimism that the various vaccines being rolled out across the globe will help with the travel recovery.

Brian Pearce says that "the outlook for the end of the year is reasonable because of the vaccines. The second half will feel much stronger".

With murmurs from Whitehall that lockdown restrictions will last through to the first May bank holiday, The Times reports that Number 10 officials expects COVID controls to begin to ease from March 23rd.

With the likes of Jet2 Holidays suspending their bookings until the end of March, this all makes sense.

Back to Pearce, who obviously warns the industry about the outlook for the first half of the year: "There is evidence of pent-up demand to visit friends and relatives. When the UK removed the UAE from the requirement to quarantine in November we saw bookings surge.

"UK bookings to the UAE had subsequently fallen because of what is happening in the UK", he said.

Pearce debated on an IATA briefing: "Air travel is extremely sensitive to the ability to control the virus.

"We did see some modest improvement in bookings following the vaccine announcements, but a drop-off since.

"In Europe, the new variant [of the virus] has hit bookings. It has certainly cast doubt on the Easter season. We're now dependent on the speed at which governments roll out vaccination.

As a community, a nation, a global neighbourhood - we need to follow the scientific advice and get through these next few months. There is light at the end of the (travel) corridors - we just need to get there.

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