Hopes rise for vaccinated travelers in Europe
According to IATA, the measures implemented by European states are a step in the right direction, but restoring global connectivity requires much more than regional or individual state initiatives
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the relaxation of COVID-19 border measures for vaccinated passengers and the wider use of affordable antigen tests adopted by Spain and France this week. This is tempered by constant disappointment at the lack of implementation of harmonized measures across Europe and deep frustration at the lack of coordination between governments around the world for a data-driven risk management approach to restore freedom of to travel.
As of June 7, Spain opened its borders to the majority of vaccinated travelers from around the world and allowed travelers from the EU to enter the country with a negative antigen test. Additionally, passengers coming from low-risk countries (including the UK) can enter without restrictions.
As of June 9, France was open to vaccinated travelers from all countries except those 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 self-isolate for seven days.
“It is encouraging to see that more European countries are taking steps to reopen borders. They recognize 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 their borders. This fragmentation should be replaced by a unified approach that is consistent with the recommendations of the EU to which they belong. Individuals, businesses and economies would benefit from greater alignment across Europe to relax measures and restore freedom to travel, ”said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.
A consistent approach is required across Europe for the EU digital COVID certificate to be effectively implemented by July 1. And around the world, governments must allow digital certificates to be integrated into passenger applications such as IATA Travel Pass, to alleviate pressure on airports and at borders for more complex passenger processing as the number of passengers increases. Travellers.
IATA urges a more global approach
These movements by Spain, France and other European states are a step in the right direction, but restoring global connectivity requires much more than regional or individual state initiatives. The G20 approved a data-driven approach to managing COVID-19 risks by reopening borders. The upcoming G7 Leaders Summit on June 11-13 provides an important opportunity for these governments to use their leadership to launch a coordinated, data-driven approach to reestablishing global air connectivity.
“Connectivity requires countries at both ends of the journey to be open. Many of the world's largest air travel markets, including Australia, China, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada, remain essentially closed with no clear plans to guide a reopening. The data should help these and other countries introduce specific policies that keep populations safe as they move toward normality in the world with COVID-19 for some time. The G7 has an opportunity later this month to establish a risk management framework to restore the freedom to travel in a way that is affordable and practical. It is essential that they take up the challenge, ”said Walsh.