IATA backs WHO on safe travel measures

GENEVA, 26 April 2021: Countries should not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, and they should swiftly adopt the aviation industry’s IATA Travel Pass that is critical to avoid fraud and facilitate efficient passenger processing when travel scales up.

These are the core highlights from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that on Friday urged states to comply with recommendations on international travel from the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on testing and risk management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

IATA supports the call for nations not to require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry for travellers.

Instead, they should implement coordinated, time-limited, risk-based, and evidence-based approaches for health measures in relation to international traffic.

It is also imperative to reduce the financial burden on international travellers for the measures such as testing, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination, in accordance with Article 40 of the International Health Regulations.

IATA also backs the WHO Emergency Committee’s calls for the prioritisation of vaccination for seafarers and aircrews.

“If implemented, these recommendations will help governments manage the risks of Covid-19, keep their citizens safe and protect millions of livelihoods that are at risk. The goal is to safely return to more normal lives, including the freedom to travel, while managing the risks of Covid-19, which are likely to be with us for some time. Airlines are experts at risk management. It underpins safe and reliable daily operations. Governments should tap into the airline industry’s capabilities to help them implement efficient measures for testing and vaccination that can supersede the blunt instrument of quarantine. That could safely move us towards a more normal world with the freedom to travel and the opportunity to earn a living in the sector,” said IATA’s director general Willie Walsh.

IATA Travel Pass will beat fraudsters

IATA recommends that the “WHO produce interim guidance and tools related to standardisation of paper and digital documentation of Covid-19 travel-related risk reduction measures (vaccination status, SARS-COV-2 testing and Covid-19 recovery status) in the context of international travel.”

IATA supports secure global standards for travel health credentials saying they are critical to avoid fraud and facilitate efficient passenger processing when travel scales up.

It claims the Industry is ready with the IATA Travel Pass to manage testing and vaccination documentation for travel. Governments are also producing similar apps of their own. But without global standards, these efforts will remain disjointed and never reach their full potential.

“Agreement on a digital standard for testing and vaccination documentation is a critical next step. Without globally recognised standards to prove that someone has been vaccinated or tested, the potential for frustrated travellers, fraudulent actors and overwhelmed border authorities is very real. Work needs to be accelerated, or the eventual restart will be defeated by mountains of paper,” said Walsh.