The International Air Transport Association has said airlines are working to overcome passenger fears as the skies slowly reopen to aviation.

New research shows the willingness to travel is being tempered by concerns over the risks of catching Covid-19 during air travel.

Being on a crowded bus on the way to the aircraft, queuing at check-in and breathing the air on a plane were all areas of concern, along with using the toilets.

Travelers are, however, taking precautions to protect themselves from Covid-19, with 77 per cent saying that they are washing their hands more frequently.

Some 71 per cent are also avoiding large meetings and 67 per cent have worn a facemask in public.

Some 58 per cent of those surveyed by IATA said that they have avoided air travel, with 33 per cent suggesting that they will avoid travel in future as a continued measure to reduce the risk of catching Covid-19.

“People are clearly concerned about Covid-19 when traveling.

“But they are also reassured by the practical measures being introduced by governments and the industry under the Take-off guidance developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

“These include mask-wearing, the introduction of contactless technology in travel processes and screening measures.

“This tells us that we are on the right track to restoring confidence in travel.

“But it will take time.

“To have maximum effect, it is critical that governments deploy these measures globally,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.

When asked to rank the top three measures that would make them feel safer, 37 per cent cited Covid-19 screening at departure airports, 34 per cent agreed with mandatory wearing of facemasks and 33 per cent noted social distancing measures on aircraft.

“It is no secret that passengers have concerns about the risk of transmission onboard.

“They should be reassured by the many built-in anti-virus features of the air flow system and forward-facing seating arrangements.

“On top of this, screening before flight and facial coverings are among the extra layers of protection that are being implemented by industry and governments on the advice of ICAO and the World Health Organisation.

“No environment is risk free, but few environments are as controlled as the aircraft cabin.

“And we need to make sure that travellers understand that,” said de Juniac.

While nearly half of those surveyed indicated the they would return to travel within a few months of the pandemic subsiding, this is a significant drop from the 61 per cent recorded in the April survey.

Overall, the survey results demonstrate that people have not lost their taste for travel, but there are blockers to returning to pre-crisis levels of travel.