IATA welcomed the relaxation of COVID-19 border measures for vaccinated passengers, and the broader use of affordable antigen testing adopted by Spain and France.
But there is ongoing disappointment at the failure to implement harmonized measures across Europe and deep frustration at the lack of coordination among governments worldwide for a data-driven risk-managed approach to re-establishing the freedom to travel.
- As of 7 June, Spain opened its borders to most vaccinated travelers from around the world and allowed EU travelers to enter the country with a negative antigen test. Furthermore, passengers coming from low-risk countries can enter without any restrictions.
- From 9 June, France opened to vaccinated travelers from all but those countries assessed as high risk. Vaccinated travelers from medium-risk countries will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test, and unvaccinated people must still self-isolate for seven days.
“It’s encouraging to see more European countries taking steps to reopen borders. They recognize the opportunity created by vaccination and are making travel more affordable with the use of antigen testing. But this approach is not universal across the continent. Many European states have yet to significantly relax borders at all. This fragmentation should be replaced with a unified approach that is consistent with the recommendations of the EU to which they belong. People, businesses and economies would all benefit from greater alignment across Europe in relaxing measures and restoring the freedom to travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
A consistent approach across Europe is required if the EU Digital COVID Certificate is to be implemented effectively. And around the world, governments need to allow digital certificates to be integrated in passenger applications such as IATA Travel Pass, to relieve pressure on airports and at borders from more complex passenger processing as the number of travelers ramps up.
“Connectivity needs countries at both ends of the journey to be open. Many of the world’s largest air travel markets, such Australia, China, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada remain essentially closed with no clear plans to guide a reopening. Data should help these and other countries to introduce targeted policies that keep populations safe while moving towards a normality in world with COVID-19 for some time to come,” said Walsh.