Iata has called on governments to partner with the air transport industry to establish global standards for the resumption of travel.
“Understanding government policy benchmarks and agreeing on global standards needed to support a return to normality in travel will ensure that air transport is well prepared and does not become a meaningful vector for re-importation. Airlines are ready to support governments in this task,” said Iata DG and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.
Iata has identified and supports the following principles that could form the foundation for global standardisation.
- Reopening borders to travel when a country’s healthcare workers and most vulnerable populations have been vaccinated, as the greatest risks will have been mitigated.
- Moves by governments, including Poland, Latvia, Lebanon and Seychelles, to exempt vaccinated travellers from travel restrictions, including quarantine.
- Implementing testing regimes to facilitate travel.
- The exemption of airline crew from testing processes and restrictions designed for passengers. Iata supports crew health management protocols which include, for example, regular testing and health checks at home bases.
- The implementation of multi-layered bio-safety measures, including mask-wearing.
“There are plenty of moving parts in the equation. The number of people vaccinated, and the availability of testing are key among them,” said De Juniac. He said airlines had adapted their operations to comply with restrictions and, based on that experience, they could help governments to safely re-establish global connectivity.
Practicalities: Global standards are essential
Iata has said the development of global standards is an underlying factor for the re-establishment of air connectivity.
Key global standards that are being developed include:
- WHO is leading efforts to build the standards needed to digitally record vaccination information.
- The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is laying the foundation for a global framework to help governments trust testing data based on mutual recognition of testing results. Standardising the appropriate testing certificates is also essential.
- ICAO has published standards to create a digital travel credential, ePassports. The credentials are an essential component in digitally matching travellers to their vaccination and testing certificates.
“As we have seen, unilateral government decisions are very effective in shutting down global mobility. Re-establishing the freedom to travel, however, can only be done with co-operation,” concluded De Juniac.