The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has broken our future travel dreams this week by sharing its predictions about international travel.

While our optimistic selves were thinking we would be able to fly overseas by the end of 2020 – September even – or the start of 2021 at the latest, this may not be the case. The new date to look forward to …2023?!

2023?! That’s FOREVER away.

Yep. It’s three years away, which is basically FOREVER away, especially if you have family living overseas, as I do. 2023 is a really long time for my parents to not see their grandkids. Hell, my toddler will be in kindy by then.

However, there is a bit of a silver lining that comes with this not-so-happy-travel news. 2023 is the date that travel will return to ‘normal’ but we could still be able to fly overseas before then. 

IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac shared his predictions for international trave on ABC News Breakfast on Thursday morning,

We have published today a new forecast about the potential recovery of air traffic, and what we see is that things should come back to normal in 2023, which is later than our previous forecast.

We have planned to restart the industry, first by reopening the domestic markets, then regional continental markets, such as Asia-Pacific, or Europe, or North America.

At the end of 2020, the traffic should be between 50 to 55% of the same level that was in place in 2019. So, we would lose something like half the traffic for 2020.”

In other words? International travel will open sooner than 2023, but it will definitely look a lot different!

Who gets to fly first?

It’s predicted that international travel will initially only be for essential and professional reasons. Going overseas for work – yes. Visiting sick relatives in another country – probably. Drinking cocktails on a beach in Bali – probs not. International travel for holiday purposes may be off the cards for a (long) while yet.

Healthy passengers only 

Another interesting development is the potential “health” passport, which, essentially proves that you’re healthy and not bringing any yucky virus on board with you. There are a few countries considering this option – Greece, Turkey and Chile, for example. I wonder if Australia will look into it too.

The Italian island of Sardinia, for instance, is looking at introducing health passports to help kick start the tourism industry.

The Australia New Zealand loophole

There is a bit of good news for Australian and New Zealand residents though. It looks like travel between these two countries will be happening much sooner and without mandatory quarantine measures either.

“Once we have established effective travel arrangements across the Tasman, we will also explore opportunities to expand the concept to members of our broader Pacific family, enabling travel between Australia, New Zealand and Pacific island countries,” Morrison and Ardern said in a joint statement.

Less packed planes

One of the other things we may find when travelling overseas is passengers will no longer be packed in the planes like sardines. After all, that is very ‘social-distancing-friendly’. To make it safe for everyone, there would need to be (at least) one empty seat between each passenger.

Sounds great, right – more space, fewer people asking you dumb questions? But this is also going to cost us.

Some other changes to expect include touchless travel – more mobile boarding and self-service technology, frequent cabin cleaning, as well as short-notice flight rescheduling or cancellations if there is any risk to passenger and crew’s safety. 

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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