The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that the freedom of movement of citizens within Europe is being jeopardized by the failure of European Union member states to enforce coordinated entry regulations for COVID-19.
According to an IATA press release, reopening borders is creating confusion for travelers and businesses as it does not provide the benefits expected in the context of easier travel and economic recovery, TheSchengen.com reports.
“It is imperative that European countries come together on COVID-19 travel measures. The good work that the Commission and countries have done to develop the DCC is being lost in a mess of uncoordinated regulations. How can travelers travel with confidence when the rules are so different in every country within the EU?” said IATA Regional Vice President for Europe, Raphael Schwartzman.
As such, based on a study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it turns out that there are significant differences between EU member states regarding the way they manage travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The main results are as follows:
Nearly 30 per cent of countries using the EU’s digital COVID certification system do not accept rapid antigen tests, 19 per cent of countries do not exempt children from testing rules, and 41 per cent of countries do not allow entry to vaccinated travelers who reach the safe third of Epidemiology Countries 45 percent of countries accept online PLF passenger locator forms 33 percent of countries accept paper and online PLF submissions 11 percent of countries accept paper-only applications.
Additionally, referring to the coordination of COVID Digital Certificate (DCC) requirements, the IATA and other stakeholders have urged EU countries to carry out digital certificate verifications before passengers arrive at the airport in order to reduce disruptions.
It was also required that all countries develop a portal that would facilitate DCC verification by national authorities and limit health data processing by airlines.
Except for that, the integration of digital passenger locator forms into a government portal has been strongly encouraged.
“Experience during the European summer shows that a standard digital certificate is not enough. We urge European countries to iron out the current chaos and give stressed passengers greater certainty about their travel plans,” Schwartzman added.
Moreover, it was emphasized that EU countries also need to comply with health requirements, including accepting rapid antigen tests, exempting minors from testing and vaccination requirements, and opening borders globally for vaccinated people and those arriving from safe third countries.
Previously, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel sector, travel demand during July 2021 decreased by 53.1% compared to the same month in 2019.