ACI EUROPE, A4E, ERA and IATA welcome the decision to postpone the implementation of the new EU smart border system for non-EU citizens (i.e. entry-exit system, EES).
The EES system will be a game changer for how EU borders are managed. However, there are a number of issues that need to be resolved to ensure a smooth implementation and operation of the new system so that air passengers do not experience disruption.
These problems include:
Wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at national border crossings by national authorities,
Funding by member states to ensure that sufficient numbers of trained personnel and resources are deployed to manage the EU external border, particularly at airports.
Deployment of sufficient resources to support the implementation of new procedures by airports and airlines, and
The need for a public communication campaign to alert third-country nationals of the new requirements.
The aviation industry fully supports the deployment of EES and is committed to working with the EU and national authorities for a successful implementation. But it is important that EU and national authorities address industry concerns and provide efficient coordination for effective implementation. This includes EU-LISA (the agency responsible for managing the system) strengthening its communications with industry and with international partners such as the US, to ensure that IT systems are connected and compatible.
Postponing implementation until after the busy summer period of 2023 will give airlines, airports, and EU and national authorities the opportunity to resolve these issues and ensure the system is fully tested. We therefore urge all involved to make the best use of the additional time now available to address the outstanding issues and ensure sufficient resources are deployed for their introduction. A new start date for EES should be set to ensure smooth and continuous air operations and, in particular, smooth passenger processing at airports. This will help achieve the time savings that the European Commission identified as the greatest benefit of EES.
Building traveler confidence with an effective EES deployment is critical for the aviation industry as it continues its recovery.