IATA has sought to reassure air travellers following an interview regarding Covid-19 risks with Bloomberg earlier this week.

IATA’s Medical Advisor Dr David Powell told Bloomberg that the risk of catching the Omicron variant of Covid-19 during a flight could be “two to three times greater” than that of the Delta variant.

The International Air Transport Association has since clarified these remarks, stating that:

“The aircraft cabin remains a very low risk environment for contracting Covid-19 even though Omicron appears to be more transmissible than other variants in all environments”.

It added that there are a number of factors that contribute to the low risk, including aircraft design characteristics (direction of air flow, rate of air exchange and filtration), the forward orientation of passengers while seated, well-enforced masking, and enhanced sanitary measures.

Dr Powell commented in a release:

“The controlled nature of the aircraft cabin compared to other enclosed environments adds a further measure of protection.”

IATA added that its advice to travellers remains “unchanged and even more important” with the rise of Omicron cases around the world.

This comes after lockdowns and travel bans spread across Europe in the lead-up to Christmas.