European Aviation Welcomes EASA Update On Vaccinated Travelers

Vaccinated travelers can prove their status by scanning their EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Credit: European Union, 2021 / Christophe Licoppe

PARIS—European aviation industry representatives said updated guidelines from EASA and the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) stating that travelers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should not be subject to testing or quarantine will make travel easier by avoiding duplicate checks.  

The revised recommendations come as the European Union prepares to lift temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to and from the U.S. France has already added the U.S. and Canada to its “green” list of countries for travel.  

Industry groups Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE), Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and IATA released a joint statement welcoming the new guidelines.  

“Protection of public health, including that of our staff and our passengers, continues to be aviation’s number one priority throughout this pandemic,” the groups said. “Following successful vaccination programs across Europe and an improved epidemiological outlook, these updated guidelines are very timely and will help to ensure a smooth and safe passenger journey.” 

The associations said they were counting on member states to play their part by updating their own existing measures accordingly, so that passengers know what to expect. “This is crucially important for restoring passenger confidence and to help our sector’s recovery,” the groups said.

The updated EASA and ECDC protocoIs echo the European Council recommendations published earlier in June, which stated that fully vaccinated travelers or those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 should not be subject to quarantine or testing unless they are coming from an area of very high risk or where a variant of concern is circulating.  

The update came as the European Council was expected to add on June 18 the U.S. to its “white” list of countries from which restrictions on non-essential travel should be lifted.  

The recommendations from EASA and the ECDC map out the use of the European Digital COVID Certificate, which airlines are counting on to encourage a return to travel as the peak summer season gets underway. Some countries are already using the certificate system, which is due to come into full force July 1.  

The protocol also supports the use of rapid antigen tests, particularly for passengers traveling from high-risk areas.  

“Europe now has all the tools: the Digital COVID Certificate, a digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) and Council Recommendations on international and intra-EU travel to ensure a safe and smooth reopening of air travel this summer,” the associations added. “As vaccination rates increase and the epidemiological situation further improves, the five associations expect the last preventative measures to be further scaled back or removed as appropriate, in line with a reduction in the overall risk level.”

Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.