Global travel and tourism associations are calling on EU governments to follow one line with regard to EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) verification, warning that anything else will cause unnecessary airport queues and longer processing times, undermining travel and economic recovery.
In a letter to EU leaders this week, airports group ACI and airline bodies A4E, IATA and ERA are urging EU states to develop online national portals to process and verify certificates digitally from home warning that the “worrying patchwork of approaches” will create problems.
“As passenger traffic increases in the coming weeks, the risk of chaos at European airports is real,” the groups said.
The associations are recommending that both the vaccination certificate and the Passenger Locator Forms (PLFs) be processed remotely before passengers go to the airport. They also want checks to be conducted in the country of departure and not on arrival.
The groups are also calling EU members to ensure that paper DCCs can be verified using a single verifier app and to refrain from requesting DCC verification on arrival.
According to the industry bodies, there are currently at least 10 different approaches under review ahead of the certificate’s announced launch next week.
EU governments should be ready to implement the digital certificate on July 1 in efforts to restore freedom of movement in Europe.
Indicative of the problem, IATA’s European Vice President Rafael Schvartzman said the amount of time navigating airports during a journey has doubled to three hours from 1-1/2 hours before the pandemic.
“With the peak summer travel season upon us, the EU thankfully now has a number of tools and measures available to enable and support the restarting of air connectivity, alongside travel and tourism. We need member states to urgently implement these tools in a harmonised and effective manner. We view these as essential prerequisites to travel, to avoid long passenger queues and waiting times which would create new health hazards and inevitably result in operational issues for airports and airlines”, said the four associations.
They go on to note that the current situation threatens the success of this summer’s air travel restart and will undermine free movement of citizens across the EU.
On Tuesday, the European Commission issued recommendations and guidance to EU states ahead of an EU meeting to address pending digital certificate issues ahead of the July 1 deadline.