This proposal requires European Union (EU) States to issue common, inter-operable and mutually recognised certificates for Covid-19 vaccination, testing and recovery status that will facilitate free movement during the Covid pandemic and support the restart of travel.
Industry associations Airlines for Europe (A4E), ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International), ASD (Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe), CANSO, European Regions Airline Association (ERA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) view these certificates as a key tool to facilitate a safe and efficient resumption of travel and tourism in Europe. They call on the EU Council and the European Parliament to urgently approve the Commission proposal, and for all EU States to immediately begin preparations for their implementation.
Certificates should be operational in time for peak travel months
Recent polling by the European Travel Commission showed that 54 per cent of Europeans aim to take a trip before the end of July 2021, revealing the strong pent-up demand for mobility. Among this group, 41 per cent wish to travel to another European country, underlining the benefit of a common EU framework. Eighty-nine per cent of people agree that governments need to standardise testing and vaccine certificates.
The associations are, therefore, urging EU governments to ensure the certificates are operational in time for the peak summer travel months – with vaccination certificates, in particular, enabling the elimination of all restrictions to travel whilst recognising that vaccination should not be mandatory in order to travel.
‘A clear path out of this crippling situation’
In stark contrast to the restart roadmap set out by the UK, EU work has yet to be initiated on this – leaving hundreds of thousands of travel and tourism businesses and their employees across Europe in the dark as to their prospects for a restart and related planning. It is also preventing Europeans from planning longed-for family reunions, business trips or holidays, which will be crucial in helping to restore Europe’s economies.
The leaders of the associations said in a statement: “We need a clear path out of this crippling situation, and appeal once again to the EU Member States to implement common solutions and plan ahead in a fully co-ordinated and aligned way. We repeat: a safe restart of air travel is possible, and we can save both lives and livelihoods – but we need the EU to lead from the front. States must now do their part by acting in a co-ordinated manner, to avert yet another patchwork solution of fragmented agreements borne out of frustration and necessity.”