The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to partner with the air transport industry to devise plans to safely re-link people, business and economies when the coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemiological situation permits.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel as vaccination programs roll out. Turning this vision into a safe and orderly re-start will require careful planning and coordination by governments and industry,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Taking under consideration the continuous improvement in testing technology, and the growing number of people being vaccinated, de Juniac said IATA is seeing some progress that could form the foundation for plans to re-establish global connectivity.
According to IATA, a priority for the “critical cooperation” is acceleration of the establishment of global standards so that the requirements of one country can be followed by travelers originating in other jurisdictions.
Global standards for vaccination and testing certification
During a recent media briefing, IATA’s CEO presented the following key global standards that are being developed and needed for a safe and orderly restart:
– Vaccination certificates: The WHO is leading efforts to build the standards needed to digitally record vaccination information that will be critical to re-establishing international travel. The Smart Vaccination Certificate will be the digital successor to the long-established “yellow book” used to manage vaccinations such as yellow fever.
– Global framework for testing: The OECD is laying the foundation for a global framework to help governments trust testing data based on mutual recognition of testing results. The urgency of such a framework was demonstrated by the recent suspension of flights between the UAE and Denmark over concerns about the UAE’s testing regime. A trusted framework will ensure that travelers are not caught in the middle when governments do not recognize each other’s testing regimes. Standardizing the appropriate testing certificates is also essential.
– Digital Travel Credential (DTC): ICAO has published standards to create a DTC from ePassports. Along with enabling contactless travel as recommended by ICAO-CART guidelines, the credentials are an essential component in digitally matching travelers to their vaccination and testing certificates. The standard exists and the challenge now is implementation.
“It was easy for governments to shut off their countries with unilateral actions. But re-establishing global connectivity needs cooperation. IATA is engaged with the standard-setting process. We are moving forward quickly with the IATA Travel Pass. And we aim to be good partners for governments to establish workable restart plans based on global standards,” said de Juniac.