Airlines warn that EU digital COVID certificate rollout could be chaos
The European Union reached a provisional deal last month to bring in a digital COVID passport for travel. This plan is due to come into effect on the 1st July.
However, groups that represent European airlines and airports have warned that, unless countries are able to coordinate the rollout more effectively, it could lead to chaos.
The new digital certificates have been highly controversial. They will include a number of factors, depending on the country, to check the status of visitors based on their records.
It will be in the form of a QR code, which can be scanned or printed, and will show if the person has had a negative test recently and whether they have received a vaccination.
They are designed for travel between EU countries. But, due to the nature of the scheme, it would still require extra checks and the right equipment at airports.
With this due to come into force this week, airports group ACI and airlines representative bodies A4E, IATA, and ERA warned in a letter to EU national leaders of a “worrying patchwork of approaches” that could lead to hours-long queues unless changes are made.
The letter added that, as passenger traffic increases, countries need to find a way to ensure passengers are processed before arriving at airports.
It said that, in order to avoid long queues and delays in the peak summer season, the EU needs to introduce a system to process vaccination certificates and other forms before traveling.
Additionally, the groups believe that checks should only take place in the country of departure and not the country they’re arriving in; and, national governments should manage the health data and equipment needed for the system to work.
“A high level of fragmentation and differences in the implementation of the DCC … as well as continued duplication of document checks in several states, is alarming,” the letter said.