IATA buoyed by European Commission president’s comments over EU-U.S. travel

With Ursula von der Leyen commenting that the EU intends to grant unrestricted access to travelers from the U.S. who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was quick to announce its encouragement.

“This is a step in the right direction. It gives hope to people for so many reasons—to travel, to reunite with loved ones, to develop business opportunities or to get back to work. To fulfil that hope, details of the EC’s intentions are essential. To be fully prepared, it is imperative that the EC works with the industry so that airlines can plan within the public health benchmarks and timelines that will enable unconditional travel for those vaccinated, not just from the US but from all countries using vaccines that are approved by the European Medicines Association. Equally critical will be clear, simple and secure digital processes for vaccination certificates. The IATA Travel Pass can help industry and governments manage and verify vaccination status, as it does with testing certificates. But we are still awaiting the development of globally recognized standards for digital vaccine certificates. As a first step, it is vital that the EU accelerates adoption of the European Green Certificate. President von der Leyen’s comments should add urgency to this work,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

However, the IATA felt that travel should not be restricted to those whose who have had access to a vaccine and should also include those who in possession of a negative COVID-19 test. “The freedom to travel must not be restricted to only those who have access to vaccinations. Vaccines are not the only way to safely re-open borders. Government risk-models should also include COVID-19 testing,” said Walsh.

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