All around the world, restrictions are easing for vaccinated travelers, and more and more people will soon be on the move. But with traffic set to rise, airlines are keen to put a stop to bad behavior in the skies.
Australia will open to vaccinated international travelers in late February, and India is relaxing its testing and quarantine rules. In Europe, Greece, Portugal and the UK are all making plans to relax test requirements for the fully vaccinated or recently boosted.
Travelers going to Hawaii won’t need boosters to be considered fully vaccinated, and the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Bermuda are making entry easier. Despite all this, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now has close to 135 destinations in its highest-risk travel advisory category.
Why Airlines are still full of “Ghost Flights”!
In the early days of the pandemic, when demand for air travel abruptly flatlined and international borders closed, “ghost flights” became a common phenomenon. These were empty or near-empty planes traversing the skyline as airline schedules kept to their contractual obligations to fly. The problem is that nearly two years on, they’re still haunting the skies above us.
“They are scheduled flights that are poorly booked due to the pandemic. Despite poor demand, airlines must operate these flights to continue securing takeoff and landing rights at hubs and major airports.”
More countries open their borders and loosen travel restrictions!
Recently, a slew of countries announced plans to reopen or relax border restrictions. These include places that have maintained some of the strictest pandemic-related border controls in the world.
The announcements come on the heels of a record-setting period of global infections. According to the World Health Organization, Covid-19 cases hit a new peak worldwide in late January, with more than 4 million cases registered in a single day.
However, many countries are signaling that they can’t economically afford — or are no longer willing — to stay closed.
In addition, more than half (54%) of the world’s population is now vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. Medical treatments can successfully thwart and treat severe infections. And, many experts are now “cautiously optimistic” as top American medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated that a new phase of the pandemic may be within reach.