Airline Advocacy Groups Call on Europe to End COVID-Related Restrictions

Airline Advocacy Groups Call on Europe to End COVID-Related Restrictions

Woman wearing a face mask and flying an E.U. flag. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/MarianVejcik)

Air travel advocacy groups are calling on European governments to lift all remaining coronavirus-related restrictions on travel among European Union and Schengen area countries.

The Airports Council International (ACI) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) are asking officials to no longer require COVID-19 testing, proof of vaccination, health forms and mask protocols in areas where applicable.

The ACI and IATA cited the rising number of European countries reopening to international travel and removing restrictions as the main reasons the commercial airline industry should follow a similar path.

New data presented by the aviation advocates also suggests “that even if a new variant is discovered and travel restrictions introduced immediately, this only delays the peak of infections by a maximum of only four days.”

“The latest research from OXERA and Edge Health confirms that by the time a variant of concern is identified and restrictions are implemented, cross-border transmission will already have happened,” IATA Regional Vice President Rafael Schvartzman said. “Europe’s population immunity is strong and COVID-19 is essentially now an endemic disease.”

“The time has come to focus their COVID efforts on surveillance and remove remaining intra-EU restrictions,” Schvartzman continued. “This will free people to travel, and support jobs returning to the European air transport and travel sectors.”

As a result, the ACI and IATA are requesting Ministers of Transport and Health throughout EU member states remove all health-related travel and border restrictions ahead of the summer season, align the health restrictions applicable to aviation to those applied nationally and allow those vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine to travel into the European Economic Area.

The ACI and IATA also reiterated the vital role played by the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) in giving states the confidence to reopen borders and restart travel.

In response to the airline advocacy group’s efforts, WTTC President Julia Simpson voiced her support for the cause.

“WTTC fully supports the call from IATA and ACI Europe to end all remaining restrictions applying to intra-EU and Schengen area travel,” Simpson said. “The patchwork of restrictions do nothing to prevent the spread of COVID but have caused serious damage to the economy, causing the loss of jobs and businesses.”

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen economies reopening,” Simpson continued. “It is time to remove these ineffective restrictions and allow people to travel freely.”

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