The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged the European Union to agree a common digital certificate for those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The association is supporting the initiative by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for a harmonised vaccination certification, which would enable those who are vaccinated to travel freely within Europe without Covid-19 testing.

In an open letter to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said:

”Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ initiative should be urgently adopted by the Commission and all member states. Vaccination is a fundamental key to safely reopening borders and stimulating economic recovery. A pan-European mutually recognised vaccination certificate would be an important step towards giving governments the confidence to safely open their borders, and passengers the confidence to fly without the barrier of quarantine”. 

De Juniac went on to stress the importance of well-coordinated planning in preparing for the re-establishment of freedom of movement, citing a combination of vaccination and testing as key to the restart of safe aviation.

“We are in very dark days of this pandemic. But the tough measures taken combined with accelerating vaccination programs must give us hope that we can safely re-establish the freedom of movement. That will save jobs, ease mental anguish, re-connect families and revive the economy. To do this safely and efficiently, planning is key. 

“Prime Minister Mitsotakis’s proposal for vaccine certificates will be a key enabler. Progress on eliminating or reducing quarantines can be made with testing protocols. But what we need now is for governments to start working together much more effectively. Unilateral government actions were able to quickly dismantle global connectivity. Re-building will need coordination.”

Mitsotakis’ proposal will be discussed tomorrow (January 21) during a meeting of the EU Heads of State. 

Last year, IATA designed the IATA Travel Pass, a digital health pass to support the safe reopening of borders. Carriers including Etihad Airways, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are now using the technology.

For more information on vaccine passports, see our feature:

Vaccine passports – arguments for and against