IATA releases 3-step blueprint for air travel’s recovery

IATA releases 3-step blueprint for air travel’s recovery

GENEVA — IATA has released a blueprint for recovery highlighting three key areas that will help ramp up international travel.

Titled ‘From Restart to Recovery: A Blueprint for Simplifying Travel,’ the newly released policy paper calls on governments to adopt the following practical measures:

  • Simplified health protocols
  • Digital solutions to process health credentials
  • COVID-19 measures proportionate to risk levels with a continuous review process

“Over the next months we need to move from individual border openings to the restoration of a global air transport network that can reconnect communities and facilitate economic recovery,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Deputy Director General. “We must have processes in place to safely and efficiently manage the ramping-up of international travel as borders reopen. With over 18 months of pandemic operational experience and traveller feedback, we know that a laser-focus on simplicity, predictability and practicality is essential. This is not the reality today.”

Simplified health protocols

Key recommendations include:

  • Remove all travel barriers (including quarantine and testing) for those fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine.
  • Enable quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated travelers with a negative pre-departure antigen test result.

According to public opinion research of travellers, 80% believe that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely, while 81% believe that testing before travel is an acceptable alternative to vaccination. Seventy-three percent believe that quarantine is not necessary for vaccinated travellers.

Digital solutions to process health credentials

Management of travel health credentials (vaccination or testing certificates) should be handled digitally, says IATA. Travellers should be able to complete the process in advance so that they can arrive at the airport ready to travel.

As per the research, 88% of travellers support standardized vaccination and testing certificates, with 87% saying they will share personal health data via an app if its saves processing time. Seventy-three percent said the rules and paperwork applicable to their travel are challenging to understand.

Key recommendations include:

  • A digital health credential to record health status. The European Digital Covid Certificate (EU DCC) is widely accepted and a recognized good practice, with 22 non-EU States currently having equivalence agreements with the EU DCC.
  • A digital web portal or application through which passengers can present their travel health credentials directly to the respective governments for verification. Aruba’s web portal and Canada’s ArriveCAN app are good examples from which other countries can learn, and Australia’s Digital Passenger Declaration platform promises to further streamline processes. IATA Travel Pass can integrate with government solutions to assist with data collection and verification. IATA is working with several governments, including Australia to ensure a joined-up process,
  • A web-platform providing clear explanations of entry requirements tailored to the individual passenger’s residence status, health status, travel history and any other required variable. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health Travelcheckportal is a good practice example for its ease of use, simplicity and clarity.

COVID-19 measures proportionate to risk levels with a continuous review process

IATA says that COVID-19 measures must reflect the vast experience industry and governments have amassed throughout the pandemic.

Key recommendations include:

  • Publish the risk assessments that are used to make decisions relating to international travel to enhance predictability for both consumers and industry
  • Review existing processes and apply “sunset” clauses to public health measures to ensure that they are only in place for as long as needed
  • Develop a roadmap for restoring aviation connectivity in the post-pandemic phase.

According to public opinion research, 87% believe that governments must find the right balance in managing COVID-19 and enabling economic recovery, 86% said that borders should be progressively reopened as vaccination coverage and testing capacity grow; and 85% believe that mask-wearing onboard is critical (although 62% said this requirement should be removed as soon as possible).

To read the blueprint in its entirety click here.