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Ensuring smooth air travel while checking EU Digital COVID Certificates: new guidelines for Member States

Ensuring smooth air travel while checking EU Digital COVID Certificates: new guidelines for Member States

22/07/2021

Following the launch of the EU Digital COVID Certificate on 1 July, the European Commission has issued guidelines for EU Member States on the best ways to check them before travel, ensuring the smoothest possible experience for air passengers and staff alike. The non-mandatory EU Digital COVID Certificate provides either proof of vaccination, shows if a person holds a negative SARS-COV-2 test result, or has recovered from COVID-19. Therefore, the EU Digital COVID Certificate is essential to support the re-opening of safe travel. As passenger numbers will rise over the summer, an increased number of Certificates will need to be checked. The airline sector is particularly concerned by this since, in July for example, air traffic is expected to reach more than 60% of 2019 levels, and will rise thereafter. Currently, how and how often passenger’s Certificates are checked, depends on the holder’s departure, transit and arrival points. A better-coordinated approach would help avoid congestion at airports and unnecessary stress for passengers and staff.

Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean said: "Reaping the full benefits of the EU Digital COVID Certificate requires the harmonization of the verification protocol. Cooperating for a ‘one-stop’ system to check the certificates makes for a seamless travel experience for the passengers across the Union."

To avoid duplication, i.e. checks by more than one actor (airline operators, public authorities etc.), the Commission recommends a ‘one-stop’ verification process prior to departure, involving coordination between authorities, airports and airlines. Moreover, EU Member States should ensure that the verification is carried out as early as possible and preferably before the passenger arrives at the departure airport. This should ensure smoother travel and less burden for all involved.

PDF icon Reaping the full benefits of EU Digital COVID Certificates: Supporting free movement of citizens and the recovery of the air transport sector through guidelines and recommendations for EU Member States