- Positive vote will facilitate operational use of the certificates by June.
- A4E airlines working with regulators on technical specifications for the certificates.
- A4E CEOs set out a common framework needed for a summer restart.
Airlines for Europe (A4E) welcomed today’s decision by the European Parliament to fast-track the European Commission’s Digital Green Certificates proposal using an Urgent Procedure. A positive decision by the European Council later today would set in motion a vote on the certificates by the end of April, facilitating the European Commission’s plan to have the certificates operational by June.
A4E airlines are working closely with national governments and the European Commission to provide input on the technical specifications needed to make the digital certificates — or private apps which would use them – inter-operable by June. Several private solutions are currently being trialled by A4E airlines, including the AOK app, IATA Travel Pass, Verifly and others. These solutions will be key in enabling a scaling up of air travel going forward, gathering feedback both from the users as well as the technical providers, relevant authorities and airport staff before rolling them out on a wider level.
It is imperative that the EU ensures coordination and links the Digital Green Certificates to other digital solutions in development elsewhere. The ICAO Council’s recent approval of requirements for globally accepted COVID-19 test certificates, including the technology framework for secure digital versions — and the future incorporation of vaccination certificates provides a global framework for further action, in line with WHO standards.
“We fully welcome today’s positive vote by the European Parliament to expedite a decision on the Digital Green Certificates proposal. The ball is now in the court of the European Council to make this happen”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, Airlines for Europe (A4E).
“Whatever solution is offered to passengers this summer, it must be simple to use, inter-operable among EU countries and cover a passenger’s vaccination, testing and recovery status. Most importantly, EU governments must take the responsibility for verifying the authenticity of these certificates. Airlines are happy to provide input and facilitate their use – but this work belongs with EU governments”, Reynaert added.
“The Digital Green Certificate is one of several tools that we can use to unlock Europe and facilitate safe travel in a coordinated way”, said Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO and A4E’s newly elected 2021 Chairman.
“With vaccination programmes underway, I am even more confident travel will be possible this summer. Airlines are ready to re-connect Europe and support economic recovery. I look forward to working with A4E members and policy leaders on this critical work ahead”, Lundgren added.
Progress on a common EU testing protocol is long overdue and would enable a safe restart of travel alongside the digital green certificates. Whilst the epidemiological situation in Europe is currently deteriorating, work on a pathway towards recovery — making better use of rapid testing and the inter-operability of digital certificates, must progress.
At a press conference attended by Aviation24.be today, A4E CEOs urged EU governments to continue to work on a common framework to reinstate freedom of movement for European citizens when it is safe to do so. The CEOs called for vaccination and recovery certificates, in particular, to enable the elimination of all travel restrictions whilst recognising that vaccination should not be mandatory in order to travel.