13 June, 2021

A4E CEOs call for gradual lifting of all travel restrictions this summer

70% of EU population on track to receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by end of June, with nearly 25% fully vaccinated.
EU countries must swiftly restore freedom of movement for citizens and implement COVID Digital Certificate system without additional restrictions.
Testing & quarantines cannot become the ‘new norm’ in travel.

At the annual A4E Aviation Summit held virtually last week, apparently, due to the continued lack of EU coordination on COVID-19 travel restrictions, the forever moaning CEOs of Europe’s biggest airlines called on governments to restore freedom of movement for citizens and gradually lift all travel restrictions this summer, citing rising vaccination rates and tools such as the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate system, which is expected to be in place across the majority of EU Member States by 01 July.

“The science is clear that unrestricted, safe travel is possible for many intra-European flights already – and this will only increase as the vaccine rolls out further. We all have a responsibility, including European governments, to ensure that European travel is accessible and affordable for everyone – tests and certificates cannot become the new norm in travel”, said Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet and A4E’s 2021 Chair. 

Lundgren added: “We believe now is the time for Europe to safely start to fully reopen. This will enable a quicker recovery not only for the aviation sector, but for Europe’s wider economy and it will be for the benefit of European citizens who long to visit family and friends or get away on a long-awaited holiday”

A4E expects EU Ambassadors to finalise Council Recommendations on a coordinated lifting of travel restrictions in Europe during their meeting on 11 June. A4E is calling for adoption of the following important updates to the latest proposal, including:

Vaccinated* people can travel restriction-free;
People who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days should be able to travel without a test or being subjected to quarantine measures;
People who have tested negative should be exempted from additional tests and/or quarantine measures;
Member States must adopt a uniform approach to ease travel restrictions – accepting either a negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival, (or 48 hours in the case of rapid antigen tests) and no testing needed from non-risk areas.
Unified rules for children travelling with exempt parents: Minors accompanying their parent(s) should not be forced to test/quarantine where their parents are not required to do so. Children under 6 years old should be exempt from all measures;
14-day incidence rate thresholds in the ECDC map should be increased from 50 to 75 for orange areas;
Vaccination, recovery from COVID-19 or a negative test must be proven by producing a Digital Covid-19 Certificate (DCC) or by other means, until the DCC is available.
“Everyone has a role to play in ensuring travel in Europe is safe and possible again this summer. Member States, especially, are urged to adopt and swiftly implement the EU Council Recommendation for intra-EU travel but also for non-essential travel from third countries — and refrain from imposing any additional restrictions on travellers outside those already outlined. This is crucial in order to reboot passenger confidence, which has suffered tremendously during the last 12 months”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, Airlines for Europe (A4E).

*Vaccines approved by European Medicines Agency (EMA) and World Health Organisation (WHO)

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