Ahead of the 01 July deadline for Member States to implement the EUs Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) system, the crucial enabler for the restoration of freedom of movement within Europe, airlines and airports are warning of major operational risks due to the inconsistent approach by Member States in applying the DCC across Europe.
In a letter sent yesterday to EU Heads of State, the industry urged leaders to harmonise DCC verification standards and protocols, to avoid unnecessary airport queues and ensure a smooth passenger experience.
While the European Commission has worked closely with industry and delivered in record time the adequate framework allowing for common and fully interoperable DCCs, no less than 10 different national approaches and solutions are currently under review across the EU.
Combined with a lack of full and effective integration of the DCC in the passenger journey, as well as duplication of document checks both pre-departure and upon arrival (average check-in processing times, for example, have increased 500% to twelve minutes per passenger) the current state of play threatens the success of this summer’s air travel restart and will undermine free movement of citizens across the EU.
These issues have just been flagged by the European Commission which yesterday issued the recommendations and guidance to EU states to address them.
“With the peak summer travel season upon us, the EU thankfully now has a number of tools and measures available to enable and support the restarting of air connectivity, alongside travel and tourism,” said the four associations in their joint letter to heads of state.
“We need Member States to urgently implement these tools in a harmonised and effective manner.
“We view these as essential prerequisites to travel, to avoid long passenger queues and waiting times which would create new health hazards and inevitably result in operational issues for airports and airlines”.