As a result of the adoption of the EU Council Recommendation for external travellers coming into the EU, ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed their delight and called for further action to assist in the re-starting of air connectivity.
The new regime is consistent with the Recommendation on intra-EU travel, which was adopted in January, and enhances the notion of travel criteria based on travellers’ personal health status rather than the epidemiological situation of the country or area of departure.
Travel restrictions, according to airports and airlines, have little or no impact on the epidemiological spread of the disease, based on a growing body of evidence. This includes unequivocal guidance from the World Health Organization, as well as an independent third-party research.
The Recommendation adopted includes the criteria that:
- EU States should accept all travellers fully vaccinated with EU approved vaccines without any restrictions or conditions.
- EU States should accept all travellers fully vaccinated with other WHO listed vaccines and recovered travellers either without any restrictions / conditions or only with the requirement of a negative pre-departure PCR test.
- EU States could also fully accept fully vaccinated travellers not holding a valid EU DCC or equivalent, subject to a negative pre-departure PCR test.
As a step in the right direction, the Recommendation is laudable, the industry has urged on EU States to go even farther, including unconditional adoption of all WHO-approved vaccinations as well as the replacement of PCR with fast antigen testing.
“We now know beyond any doubt that a regime based on travellers’ personal health status is right for individuals, for economies and for societies. There is no evidence to support any other approach. As the safe resumption of air connectivity gathers pace, it is vital that Member States implement this recommendation, bringing structure, predictability and harmonisation to the benefit of all. We urge them to do so,” said Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE.
“We welcome this logical Recommendation by the European Council. A vaccinated traveler from outside the EU should be treated no differently to one inside the EU. While we urge Member States to implement this Recommendation as an important step towards living normally with this virus, it is important that the EU considers more flexibility on the approved vaccine list,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.