The International Air Transport Association has called on governments to simplify air travel, with complex measures having created a “barrier to global mobility”.

The body has issued a policy paper entitled From Restart to Recovery: A Blueprint for Simplifying Travel which calls on governments to “safely and efficiently manage the ramping-up of international travel” through a focus on three key areas: simplified health protocols, digital solutions to process health credentials, and Covid-19 measures proportionate to risk levels with a continuous review process.

Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Deputy Director General, commented:

“Over the next months we need to move from individual border openings to the restoration of a global air transport network that can reconnect communities and facilitate economic recovery.”

“With over 18 months of pandemic operational experience and traveler feedback we know that a laser-focus on simplicity, predictability and practicality is essential. That is not the reality today. Over 100,000 COVID-19 related measures have been implemented by governments worldwide. This complexity is a barrier to global mobility that is exacerbated by the inconsistencies these measures have created among states.”

Recommendations include removing all travel barriers (including quarantine and testing) for fully vaccinated individuals, and allowing quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated travellers with a negative pre-departure antigen test result.

The body also recommends the use of a digital health credential such as the European Digital Covid Certificate to record health status, the implementation of a digital web portal or application through which passengers can present their travel health credentials directly to the respective governments for verification, and the creation of a web platform to provide clear explanations of entry requirements tailored to the individual passenger.

Finally, the body advises that Covid-19 measures reflect the “changing risk levels and societal tolerance” and include regular review and adjustments. It recommends that risk assessments used to make decisions relating to international travel are published, and that a roadmap should be developed for restoring aviation connectivity in the post-pandemic world.

Clifford concluded:

“Travel is important. Pre-pandemic some 88 million livelihoods were directly connected to aviation. And the inability to travel freely by air has impacted the quality of life for billions of people. We know that travelers feel confident with the implementation of the COVID-19 safety measures. But they have clearly told us that the current travel experience needs to improve with better information, simpler processing and digital solutions.”

IATA recently published the results of a survey which showed that travellers felt confident that the risks of the virus can be effectively managed and that the freedom to travel should be restored.

IATA: 67 per cent of travellers feel that most borders should be open