Leading European aviation groups have appealed to EU leaders to launch the planned Digital Green Certificate by the end of June ‘at the very latest’. The certificate will offer proof that a person has received a Covid-19 vaccine, tested negative or recovered from the virus, and is designed to ‘facilitate safe, free movement’ around the 27 member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Three aviation groups – Airlines for Europe (A4E), ACI Europe and ERA (European Regions Airline Association) – have sent a joint letter to European leaders and ministers calling for ‘urgent action and transparency’ on the launch of the digital certificate.
Virgin Atlantic urges UK government to accept digital apps
Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic has urged the UK government to accept digital apps confirming air passengers’ Covid status, as the airline started a one-month trial of the IATA Travel Pass on flights between Heathrow and Barbados.
Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “When international travel restarts, rapid, affordable testing and effective digital proof of Covid-19 credentials based on global common standards will make journeys easier and provide greater confidence to book.
“We urge the UK government to confirm that our customers can use digital apps and that these will be accepted at the UK border. The current paper-only-based processes will not be viable as customer numbers increase.”
Ethiopian Airlines becomes first African airline to trial IATA pass
Elsewhere, Ethiopian Airlines has become the first African airline to sign up to trial the IATA Travel Pass. The trial will be conducted on flights out of Addis Ababa to Washington DC and Toronto as well as on flights out of London and Toronto to Addis Ababa.
Regarding the trial of the IATA Travel Pass, Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said: “Digital technology is vital to solve many of the problems that arise from the pandemic. We are glad that we are offering new digital opportunities to our passengers so as to fully and safely restart air travel. As a ‘safety first’ airline, we have become the first African airline to trail IATA’s Travel Pass initiative to facilitate travel. The new initiative will increase travellers’ confidence in travel, encourage governments to reopen their borders and expedite industry restart.”