The association representing the world’s airlines is calling on EU authorities to extend the validity of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) by 12 months in efforts to protect the already “fragile recovery” of the travel and tourism industry.
In response to a European Commission recommendation that the Covid certificate remain valid for up to nine months after the second vaccination unless a booster jab is administered, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is proposing the digital travel pass be extended to up to 12-months after the second Covid-19 vaccination dose.
The EU Covid certificate has successfully helped facilitate the freedom of people to travel again, said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA regional vice president for Europe, adding that it “underpins a fragile recovery” in the travel and tourism sector.
“It is critical that any changes to it have a joined-up approach that recognizes the impact of divergent policies by individual member states and promotes further harmonization across Europe,” Schvartzman said.
In response to vaccine validity and the booster shot requirement, Schvartzman stressed the importance of a harmonized approach in terms of reciprocity, prioritization and access.
“The proposal to manage limitations on the validity of the DCC creates many potential problems,” said Schvartzman.
“Given that the majority of air travelers are not in the most vulnerable groups, allowing a 12-month time period before a booster is needed would be a more practical approach for travelers and a fairer approach for vaccine equity,” he added.
IATA suggests delaying the requirement until all states are offering booster shots to all citizens and for a 12-month validity to give more time for people to get the third dose in view of differing national vaccination campaigns.
At the same time, he stresses the need for “policies that are simple, predictable and practical in order to ensure passengers regain confidence to travel and airlines confidence to reopen routes”.
Lastly, Schvartzman cites the latest risk report by the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) which states that travel restrictions are unlikely to have any major impact on the timing or intensity of local epidemics.