GENEVA, 15 June 2021: International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomes the relaxation of Covid-19 border measures for vaccinated passengers and the broader use of affordable antigen testing adopted by Spain and France.
However, IATA expressed disappointment at the failure to implement harmonized measures across Europe and deep frustration at the lack of coordination among governments worldwide for a data-driven risk-managed approach to re-establishing the freedom to travel.
- As of 7 June, Spain opened its borders to most vaccinated travellers from around the world and allowed EU travellers to enter the country with a negative antigen test. Furthermore, passengers coming from low-risk countries (including the UK) can enter without any restrictions.
- From 9 June, France opened to vaccinated travellers from all but those countries assessed as “high risk”. Vaccinated travellers from “medium-risk” countries will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 antigen or PCR test, and unvaccinated people must still self-isolate for seven days.
“It’s encouraging to see more European countries 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 relax borders at all significantly. This fragmentation should be replaced with a unified approach that is consistent with the recommendations of the EU to which they belong. People, businesses and economies would all benefit from greater alignment across Europe in relaxing measures and restoring the freedom to travel,” said IATA’s director general Willie Walsh.
A consistent approach across Europe is required if the EU Digital Covid Certificate is to be implemented effectively by 1 July. And around the world, governments need to allow digital certificates to be integrated into passenger applications such as IATA Travel Pass in order to relieve pressure on airports and at borders from more complex passenger processing as the number of travellers ramps up.
IATA Urges a More Global Approach
These moves by Spain, France and other European states are a step in the right direction, but restoring global connectivity requires far more than regional or individual state initiatives.
“Connectivity needs countries at both ends of the journey to be open. Many of the world’s largest air travel markets, such as Australia, China, the UK, Japan, and Canada, remain essentially closed with no clear plans to guide a reopening. Data should help these and other countries to introduce targeted policies that keep populations safe while moving towards normality in the world with Covid-19 for some time to come,” Walsh concluded.