Digital vaccination certificates are unlikely to be available for travel’s restart despite the EC unveiling proposals for a Digital Green Certificate which it says could be ready by June.

Iata UK and Ireland country manager Simon McNamara hailed digital certification as “a key future tool”, but said: “I’m not sure we’re going to see a massive rollout of digital solutions this summer. There is going to be a lot of paper.”

Multiple digital-certificate apps are undergoing trials, including Iata’s Travel Pass, but McNamara said: “The key thing Iata is asking governments to do is issue vaccination certificates.

The means of capturing the data and showing it to the authorities is less important than governments coming out with it.”

He told Travel Weekly’s Future of Travel Spring Forum: “There may be some digital solutions, but we need a pragmatic approach. We’ll see a lot of paper checks.”

Business Travel Association chief executive Clive Wratten agreed: “We’re some way off getting vaccination certificates digitally from the NHS, let alone anywhere else. It’s good to have all these organisations pushing apps, [but] we can’t have them hold up the industry. We need a way to manage the process through paper until these come into play.”

Abta director of industry relations Susan Deer said: “It’s going to be the destinations asking for this certification so we need to understand the destination requirements.”

McNamara said discussions on certification at the International Civil Aviation Organisation and World Health Organization are “moving well”, but added: “It’s more of a technical discussion at this stage. It’s slow – multilateral discussions are slow.”

The EC certificate will be digital or paper and include proof of vaccination, a negative test or recovery from Covid-19. How it is used will be up to individual states. EU leaders were due to discuss the proposal on March 25.
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