The European Union Safety Agency (EASA) has published an update of air-travel recommendations, building on the COVID-19 vaccination deployment and the latest scientific evidence of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
1. Operational guidelines
The new version of the Aviation Health Safety Protocol, a 42-page document, provides recommendations for passengers arriving at and departing from the airport, describing procedures related to thermal screening, testing and passenger location forms. “We have reached a significant milestone in the pandemic: a real change in approach that can allow travellers to fly again without worrying excessively that the rules may change at short notice, complicating their journey or making it impossible,” said EASA’s Executive Director Patrick Ky.
#EASA and #ECDC update Aviation Health Safety Protocol to take account of #covid19 vaccination roll-out, EU Digital Certificates and circulation of variants of concern, recommendations for safe travel this summer.https://t.co/ZTf7VHzaBZ…#WeAreAviation #Strongertogether pic.twitter.com/Kvdi9igwBU— EASA (@EASA) June 17, 2021
The new recommendations take into account the latest scientific evidence while emphasizing the need to continue wearing medical facemasks, be aware of hygiene measures and respect physical distancing. For passengers who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, EASA is recommending national authorities consider lifting temporary entry measures such as quarantine and testing. According to ECDC’s vaccine rollout data, as of June 13, nearly 350 million vaccines have been distributed to EU/EEA countries. Among these, nearly 299 have been administrated. “The industry – and passengers – have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Thanks to the expert epidemiological input from ECDC we are confident that this protocol offers practical and pragmatic guidelines for health-safe travel,” added Ky.
2. COVID-19 certificates
Passengers showing their COVID-19 certificate at the departure airport are expected to be exempted from additional checks upon arrival. For this system to work, EASA emphasises, national authorities, airport and aircraft operators should coordinate and keep information flowing to avoid any potential duplication.
3. Better coordination between EU countries
The new guidelines are intended to provide support to national authorities in the EU member states and to aviation stakeholders. “With the new EASA/ECDC guidelines, checking for proof of vaccination and verification of the Digital COVID Certificates by member states must not result in overcrowded airports,” stated Commissioner for Transport, Adina Valean. The Commissioner reiterated that “the health and safety of passengers and crew remains our ultimate priority,” informing that EU recommendations are fully in line with the latest scientific evidence and epidemiological information.