Flight data could help to focus travel bans

SINGAPORE, 7 December 2021: A new report from ForwardKeys based on air ticketing data reveals the destinations most visited since 1 November by travellers from the eight southern African countries designated high risk due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The eight countries under the cosh of flight bans are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

However, detailed air ticketing data appears to support calls from many people objecting to immediate travel restrictions imposed on travel to and from the eight African countries. Based on arrival numbers, the countries most visited are Qatar and the UAE, each with 12% of travellers from the at-risk countries. The UK and Ethiopia are next, each with 7%.

The top 10 airport hubs most used by southern African travellers were Doha, with 22%, Addis Ababa, 15%; Dubai, 13%; Lusaka, 6%; Johannesburg, 6%; Nairobi, 6%; Frankfurt, 4%; Amsterdam, 3%; Paris, 3% and London Heathrow, 2%.

ForwardKeys VP Insights Olivier Ponti said: “We are acutely aware of the dreadful damage done by Covid-19 to people’s health, but also of the damage done to countries’ economies by the measures governments have felt compelled to take in response to it.

“We believe that the best policies to control the spread of the virus should be based on facts, not fear, and if blanket bans on travel can be avoided, that must be a preferable strategy. Fortunately, travel data can help by telling policymakers (by identifying the destinations) people from the at-risk areas went to and where they connected.”

(Source: ForwardKeys)