The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) William Walsh, has stated that the universal restrictions on global travel are no longer necessary – and that the crisis in the airline industry is being caused largely by the government’s health policies rather than the pandemic itself.

William Walsh , who was previously head of Aer Lingus, made his comments during a briefing with Airbus, Boeing and the School of Tropical Medicine  today.

He said that 98% of arriving passengers tested negative for the COVID-19 virus, and that the data showed there is a safe way to reopen international travel.

The IATA estimates that the number of air passengers in 2021 will amount to just 52% of what was recorded in 2019.

By 2023, the volume of passengers is expected to exceed the number before COVID-19 by 5%. Whereas by 2030 it is now forecasted there would be 7% fewer passengers due to the pandemic than it was originally estimated before the crisis.

The IATA previously said that Ireland should call a halt to its “repressive” Covid-19 hotel quarantine rules. “The quarantine arrangements put in place are repressive and should be removed,” Mr Walsh told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Networks.