Iata urges more global approach to restoring travel freedoms

The G7 Summit provides an important opportunity governments to use their leadership to kick-start a data-driven co-ordinated approach to re-establishing global air connectivity.

The call came from Iata ahead of world leaders gathering in Cornwall for the top level talks.

The aviation trade body described moves by Spain, France and other European countries to relax Covid-19 border restrictions for vaccinated travellers as a “step in the right direction”.

But restoring global connectivity requires far more than regional or individual state initiatives.

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Iata director general Willie Walsh said: “It’s encouraging to see more European countries taking steps to reopen borders. They recognise 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.”

A consistent approach across Europe is required if the EU digital Covid certificate is to be implemented effectively by July 1.

The organisation urged governments around the world to allow digital certificates to be integrated in passenger apps such as Iata Travel Pass.

This would relieve pressure on airports and at borders from more complex passenger processing as the number of travellers ramps up.

Walsh added: “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 UK, 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.

“The G7 has an opportunity to set a risk-managed framework for re-establishing the freedom to travel in a way that is both affordable and practical. It’s critical that they take up the challenge.”

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