IATA has welcomed proposals from the EU that unrestricted access will be granted to vaccinated travellers from the US.
The comments were made by European Commission (EC) president Ursula von der Leyen in an interview on Sunday in The New York Times when she said Americans should be able to visit all 27 EU member states this summer as both regions shared the same vaccines.
She told the newsparper: “The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines.
“This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union. Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA.”
The comments have been welcomed by IATA director general Willie Walsh, who said: “This is a step in the right direction. It gives hope to people for so many reasons—to travel, to reunite with loved ones, to develop business opportunities or to get back to work.
“To fulfil that hope, details of the EC’s intentions are essential. To be fully prepared, it is imperative that the EC works with the industry so that airlines can plan within the public health benchmarks and timelines that will enable unconditional travel for those vaccinated, not just from the US but from all countries using vaccines that are approved by the European Medicines Association.
“Equally critical will be clear, simple and secure digital processes for vaccination certificates. The IATA Travel Pass can help industry and governments manage and verify vaccination status, as it does with testing certificates. But we are still awaiting the development of globally recognized standards for digital vaccine certificates.
“As a first step, it is vital that the EU accelerates adoption of the European Green Certificate. President von der Leyen’s comments should add urgency to this work.”
Walsh added that the freedom to travel should not be restricted to those who are vaccinated but also those who can present a negative test result.
He said: “The freedom to travel must not be restricted to only those who have access to vaccinations. Vaccines are not the only way to safely re-open borders. Government risk-models should also include Covid-19 testing.”