When will we fly again? Nobody knows
Smart money: The future of aviation – and Ireland’s international connections – now clouded
A passenger at Dublin Airport this week. The Irish tourism sector, which had hoped there might be some travellers in the second half of 2021, is facing a very difficult year.Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
Much depends on the availability of vaccines. Photograph: EPA
It would be an understatement to say it has been a bad week for the travel sector– or at least the part of it which relies on international travel. New restrictions on travel were expected, but neither the industry nor many of its customers anticipated the warning from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that not only was international travel unlikely during the summer, but it might not be possible by next Christmas either.
The statement has sent many people’s plans into a spin – including those who had moved summer bookings forward from 2019. But as borders tighten across the world and travel is restricted, it is clear that the risk of the spread of new variants has changed the game for international travel, for now anyhow. With the new Biden administration even considering making it mandatory for people on internal flights to have been vaccinated, and some discussion at EU level about banning tourist travel, the story is moving very quickly.