Summit guests ponder ways to revive floored aviation sector
Thailand has proposed a regional Covid-19 vaccine certificate as a means to facilitate travel between Asean countries.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob attended the Changi Aviation Summit 2022 in Singapore on Tuesday along with leaders from Asean member countries and representatives of international aviation organisations.
During a panel discussion on "Clearer and Greener Skies Ahead", Mr Anutin proposed that Asean country members should adopt a standardised Covid-19 vaccine certificate. He said he believed that if it was adopted widely enough, it would contribute to efforts to rejuvenate the aviation sector.
In addition to the vaccine certificate, he also said Thailand will support policies on renewable energy that align with both the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (Corsia) of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Paris Agreement.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob told reporters that the Changi Aviation Summit had been concerned with guiding the aviation sector's recovery after Covid-19 and hopefully moving towards the sustainable development of the sector to align with ICAO standards.
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Asia-Pacific states to loosen restrictions on air travel.
"The Asia-Pacific is playing catch-up on restarting travel after Covid-19, but there is growing momentum with governments lifting many travel restrictions. The demand for people to travel is clear. As soon as measures are relaxed there is an immediate positive reaction from travellers," said Willie Walsh, IATA's director general, in his keynote address at the summit.
Demand for flights in March rose to 17% of pre-Covid levels after having hovered below 10% for most of the last two years.
"This is far below the global trend where markets have recovered to 60% of pre-crisis levels. The lag is because of government restrictions. The sooner they are lifted, the sooner we will see a recovery in the region's travel and tourism sector, and all the economic benefits that will bring," said Mr Walsh.
He urged Asia-Pacific governments to recognise that stringent measures are no longer required.