IATA has called on governments to adopt simple, predictable and practical measures to safely and efficiently facilitate the ramping-up of international travel as borders re-open.
Specifically, IATA urged governments to focus on three key areas:
1. Simplified health protocols
2. Digital solutions to process health credentials
3 .COVID-19 measures proportionate to risk levels with a continuous review process
The industry’s vision to address the complexity is outlined in the newly released policy paper: From Restart to Recovery: A Blueprint for Simplifying Travel.
“As governments are establishing processes to re-open borders, in line with what they agreed in the Ministerial Declaration of the ICAO High Level Conference of COVID-19, the Blueprint will help them with good practices and practical considerations. Over the next months we need to move from individual border openings to the restoration of a global air transport network that can reconnect communities and facilitate economic recovery,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s deputy director general.
The Blueprint aims to facilitate the efficient ramping-up of global connectivity. “We must have processes in place to safely and efficiently manage the ramping-up of international travel as borders re-open. With over 18 months of pandemic operational experience and traveller feedback we know that a laser-focus on simplicity, predictability and practicality is essential. That is not the reality today. Over 100,000 COVID-19 related measures have been implemented by governments worldwide. This complexity is a barrier to global mobility that is exacerbated by the inconsistencies these measures have created among states,” said Clifford.
Simplified health protocols: The aim must be protocols that are simple, consistent, and predictable.
Key recommendations include:
Remove all travel barriers (including quarantine and testing) for those fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine.
Enable quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated travelers with a negative pre-departure antigen test result.
These recommendations are supported by public opinion research of travelers which revealed that:
80% believe that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely
81% believe that testing before travel is an acceptable alternative to vaccination
73% believe that quarantine is not necessary for vaccinated travelers
Digital solutions to process heath credentials: The management of travel health credentials (vaccination or testing certificates) should be handled digitally and enable travelers to complete the process in advance so that they can arrive at the airport ready-to-travel. This will facilitate automated check-in processes, reducing airport queuing and wait-times.
“Travel is important. Pre-pandemic some 88 million livelihoods were directly connected to aviation. And the inability to travel freely by air has impacted the quality of life for billions of people. We know that travellers feel confident with the implementation of the COVID-19 safety measures. But they have clearly told us that the current travel experience needs to improve with better information, simpler processing and digital solutions. The Ministerial Declaration of the ICAO HLCC aligns with those of the G20 and the G7 in confirming that governments want to restore the social and economic benefits of global mobility. For that, industry and government must work together with a common vision of processes that are convenient for travellers, effective for governments and practical for the industry,” said Clifford.