The International Air Transport Association has approved the European Commission’s EU Covid digital certificate and urged countries to use it as a standard for their own certificates, the association said in a statement on Thursday. The EU’s Covid Digital Certificate (DCC) shares the Covid-19 vaccination and testing status of travelers and has been implemented in all 27 Member States of the European Union.
IATA hailed the DCC as a role model for other countries to follow. “In the absence of a single global standard for digital vaccination certificates, it should serve as a model for other countries looking to implement digital vaccination certificates to facilitate travel and the associated economic benefits,” said IATA Deputy Managing Director Conrad Clifford in a statement. . Up to 60 other countries are looking to incorporate a DCC model into their own certificates, according to IATA.
The lack of a global standard, however, will remain a challenge for facilitating cross-border travel, according to IATA. “The lack of a global standard makes it much more difficult for airlines, border authorities and governments to recognize and verify a traveler’s digital vaccination certificate,” said Nick Careen, senior vice president of IATA for Operations and Security, Nick Careen.
The varying rules regarding travel between countries and the resulting complexity continue to help discourage demand for cross-border passengers, which remained at over 80% from 2019 levels in June, even as Europe shrank. relaxed restrictions on historic travel lanes like the United States. These restrictions for the United States and a handful of other countries could be reinstated as early as this week, according to reports from the New York Times and Reuters.
“Travelers have remained confused as to how to provide their vaccination status with different rules for different destinations,” said Gus Gardner, associate travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, a data analytics company, in a report. communicated. “For some destinations, travelers have to go through several steps to prove their status, and if they are traveling to many countries, the process is often different. Even though it appears that restrictions have eased, the complexity of proving vaccination will continue to be a barrier.
IATA has deployed its own digital health app, the IATA Travel Pass, to allow travelers to upload and share verified health documents, such as DCC, with cross-border authorities. Carriers like Etihad and Emirates were among its early adopters. Another digital health passport available for adoption by cross-border institutions is CommonPass, developed by the Swiss non-profit association The Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum.
However, the adoption of digital health passports has been low and too fragmented, according to GlobalData. “The IATA Travel Pass has been hailed as an industry solution, but adoption has been low and government integration has been limited,” Gardner said. “With other vendors entering the space, he created a fragmented system forcing travelers to upload proof themselves to generate a digital pass.”