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IATA Calls For Consistent Border Measures Across Europe

IATA Calls For Consistent Border Measures Across Europe

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) claims a consistent approach across Europe is required, if the EU Digital COVID Certificate is to be implemented effectively by 1 July. In addition, IATA says that governments need to allow digital certificates to be integrated in passenger applications (such as IATA Travel Pass), in order to relieve pressure on airports and at borders.

While IATA welcomed the relaxation of COVID-19 border measures for vaccinated passengers, and the broader use of affordable antigen testing adopted by Spain and France, they insist this is tempered by ongoing disappointment at the failure to implement harmonised measures across Europe. They also expressed deep frustration at the lack of coordination among governments worldwide for a data-driven risk-managed approach to re-establishing the freedom to travel.

As of June 7, Spain opened its borders to most vaccinated travelers from around the world and allowed EU travelers to enter the country with a negative antigen test. Furthermore, passengers coming from low-risk countries (including Ireland) can enter without any restrictions. From June 9 France opened to vaccinated travellers from all but those countries assessed as “high risk”. Vaccinated travelers from “medium-risk” countries will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test, and unvaccinated people must still self-isolate for seven days.

“It’s encouraging to see more European countries taking steps to reopen borders,” says Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “They recognise the opportunity created by vaccination and are making travel more affordable with the use of antigen testing. But this approach is not universal across the continent. Many European states have yet to significantly relax borders at all. This fragmentation should be replaced with a unified approach that is consistent with the recommendations of the EU to which they belong. People, businesses and economies would all benefit from greater alignment across Europe in relaxing measures and restoring the freedom to travel.”

IATA Urges a More Global Approach

These moves by Spain, France and other European states are a step in the right direction, but restoring global connectivity requires far more than regional or individual state initiatives. The G20 endorsed a data-driven approach to managing the risks of COVID-19 while re-opening borders. The upcoming G7 Leaders’ Summit on  June 11-13 provides an important opportunity for these governments to use their leadership to kick-start a data-driven coordinated approach to re-establishing global air connectivity.

“Connectivity needs countries at both ends of the journey to be open. Many of the world’s largest air travel markets, such Australia, China, the UK, Japan, and Canada remain essentially closed with no clear plans to guide a reopening. Data should help these and other countries to introduce targeted policies that keep populations safe while moving towards a normality in world with COVID-19 for some time to come. The G7 has an opportunity later this month to set a risk-managed framework for re-establishing the freedom to travel in a way that is both affordable and practical. It’s critical that they take up the challenge,” said Walsh.

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