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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the easing of COVID-19 border measures for vaccinated passengers and the wider use of affordable antigen testing adopted by Spain and France this week. This is tempered by continued disappointment at the lack of harmonized action across Europe and deep frustration at the lack of coordination between governments around the world for a data-driven, risk-managed approach to restore freedom of travel.

On June 7, Spain opened its borders to most vaccinated travelers from around the world and allowed EU travelers to enter the country with a negative antigen test. In addition, passengers from low-risk countries (including the UK) can enter without any restrictions. From June 9, France will be open to vaccinated travelers from all countries except those assessed as "high risk". Vaccinated travelers from medium-risk countries must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test, and unvaccinated people must remain in self-isolation for seven days.

“It is encouraging to see more European countries taking steps to reopen borders. They recognize the opportunities that vaccination offers and make travel more affordable with the help of antigen testing. But this approach is not universal across the continent. Many European states have yet to significantly relax their borders. This fragmentation should be replaced by a unified approach in line with the EU recommendations to which they belong. People, businesses and economies would all benefit from greater alignment across Europe in easing restrictions and restoring freedom to travel.”

A consistent approach across Europe is required to effectively implement the EU Digital COVID certificate as of July 1. And around the world, governments must allow digital certificates to be integrated into passenger applications such as IATA Travel Pass to relieve the burden at airports and borders from more complex passenger processing as passenger numbers grow.

IATA urges a more global approach

These steps by Spain, France and other European states are a step in the right direction, but restoring global connectivity will require much more than regional or individual government initiatives. The G20 approved a data-driven approach to manage the risks of COVID-19 while reopening borders. The upcoming G7 leaders' summit on June 11-13 provides these governments with an important opportunity to use their leadership to kick-start a data-based coordinated approach to restore global air connectivity, the report said. International Air Transport Association.

“Connectivity requires countries at both ends of the journey to be open. Many of the world's largest aviation markets, such as Australia, China, the UK, Japan and Canada, remain essentially closed with no clear plans to guide a reopening. Data should help these and other countries implement targeted policies that will keep the population safe and move towards normalcy in the world with COVID-19 in the near future. The G7 has the chance later this month to adopt a risk-managed framework to restore freedom of travel in a way that is both affordable and practical. It is crucial that they rise to the challenge.”