Travel industry leaders have welcomed EU efforts to coordinate the easing of border restrictions with the launch of a Digital Covid Certificate on June 1, but the head of Wizz Air questioned how successful the EU measures will be.
Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air chief executive, denounced the EU as “totally uncoordinated on anything to do with the pandemic” over the past 15 months and said “we’ll see whether it succeeds” now.
Speaking as Wizz announced a loss of €576 million for its financial year to the end of March, Varadi said: “The EU as a framework kind of collapsed in the pandemic.
“Every government has been pursuing its own agenda unrelated to its neighbours and to each other. The EU green certificate is an initiative to try to get control of matters. We’ll see how successful that is going to be.”
The EU originally named the project a ‘green certificate’ but recently changed the title to a Digital Covid Certificate.
Varadi said: “One issue is which vaccination qualifies [for the certificate]. [But] the bigger issue is that over the last 15 months the EU has been totally uncoordinated on pretty much anything to do with the pandemic.
“This would be the first major initiative. We shall see whether it succeeds or fails.”
He noted: “It’s still kind of advisory as opposed to mandatory on countries. Hopefully, it will work and will boost travel, but we will see.”
The EU has specified that only vaccinations with EU-recognised vaccines will be recognised and it will be up to member states to determine how they use the certificate.
Varadi suggested travel restrictions would continue to vary arguing: “It’s a fair assumption non-EU governments will be more restrictive than the EU.”
He noted: “We have started to see some easing. There was a long period when every flight we operated was under some restriction. Now we see 10%-15% of flights becoming unrestricted and consumers coming back.
“We’ll see how the EU green pass will evolve and what relevance it will have. Travel restrictions will determine the pace and timing of recovery.”
The EU launched a Digital Covid Certificate Gateway on June 1 to allow national systems to connect and issue certificates on a voluntary basis. The certificates will come into use on July 1 and member states will have until August 12 to begin issuing and accepting these.