The EU’s Entry Exit System (EES), the new smart border system for non-EU nationals, was supposed to be introduced in May 2023, but was postponed to November the same year. By that date, non-EU citizens who currently do not need a visa to enter Europe will be expected to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization, which requires non-residents to fill out an application form and pay a €7 fee before they travel.
The aviation industry, represented by the Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, Airlines for Europe (A4E), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), welcomes the decision to postpone the implementation of the EES.
We urge all those involved to make the best use of the extra time now available to address the outstanding issues and ensure enough resources are deployed for its introduction.Aviation industry
The EES will be a game changer for how the union’s borders are managed. However, the aviation industry points to a number of issues which must be resolved to ensure a smooth roll out and operation of the new system so that air passengers do not face disruptions. These issues include:
- Wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at national border crossing points by national authorities;
- Funding by Member States to ensure a sufficient number of trained staff and resources are deployed to manage the EU’s external border, particularly at airports;
- Deployment of sufficient resources to support the implementation of new procedures by airports and airlines;
- The need for a public communications campaign to alert third-country nationals to the new requirements.
The aviation industry is fully behind the roll out of EES and is committed to working with the EU and national authorities for a successful implementation, but the industry’s concerns must be addressed to provide efficient coordination for an effective implementation. This includes EU-LISA (the agency responsible for managing the system) strengthening its communications with the aviation industry and with international partners, such as the US, to ensure the IT systems are connected and compatible.
“We therefore urge all those involved to make the best use of the extra time now available to address the outstanding issues and ensure enough resources are deployed for its introduction. A new start date for EES should be set to ensure continued smooth aviation operations and in particular trouble-free processing of passengers at airports. This will help deliver the time savings the European Commission identified as the biggest benefit of EES”, the four organisations said in a joint statement.
Postponing the implementation until after the busy 2023 summer period will give airlines, airports, EU and national authorities the opportunity to resolve these issues and ensure the system is fully tested. Building traveller confidence with an effective rollout of EES is critical for aviation sector as it continues its recovery.