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Potential Chaos Awaits EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate Requirements

Airlines and airports are sending warnings to government officials and passengers, as the European Union plans to roll-out a digital COVID-19 certificate program starting Thursday, July 1, 2021. Without a uniform approach to accepting the certificates, passengers could face long waits upon arrival.

As part of a plan to reopen travel, the European Union will implement a digital COVID-19 certificate program starting Thursday, July 1, 2021. However, both airlines and airports say without a uniform plan to accept them upon arrival, flyers could wait hours before being accepted at their destination. Reuters reports multiple organizations are warning of a “worrying patchwork of approaches” as the roll-out begins.

Certificates Show COVID-19 Status, But Different Approaches Could Create Problems

In order to restart travel across the European continent while stopping the spread of the novel Coronavirus, the European Union will require all travelers to hold a valid COVID-19 certificate prior to departure. The digital certificates will appear as QR codes on smartphones, and will show a traveler’s current status: vaccinated against the virus, immunity through recovering from one, or a recent negative test.

The potential problem lies in how they are being checked and accepted. Under the EU plan, the certificates must be verified in the nation of departure, with national governments expected to manage every aspect of the process – including collecting data and providing the required electronic equipment.

As a result, several organizations say chaos could result at the terminal. In a letter to EU leadership, organizations Airports Council International, Airlines for Europe, the International Air Transport Association and the European Regions Airline Association say “at least 10 different approaches among 27 member states” could create chaos at the departure terminal.

“We need Member States to urgently implement these tools in a harmonized and effective manner,” the letter reads. “We view these as essential prerequisites to travel, to avoid long passenger queues and waiting times which would create new health hazards and inevitably result in operational issues for airports and airlines.”

Instead of allowing each government to roll-out their own systems, the group is requesting the EU develop “a state portal to facilitate DCC verification directly by national authorities and limit health data processing by airlines.” In addition, they also request that certificates not be re-scanned upon arrival, as it could lead to long lines.

Trans-Atlantic Travel Corridor Remains to Be Open

With eyes on how the COVID-19 digital certificate program will roll out, one major hurdle remains for the continent: re-opening the trans-Atlantic travel corridor. Earlier in June 2021, British air carriers held a “day of action” to encourage governments to work together to restart north Atlantic international travel.

jtatlanta July 3, 2021

So a bunch of BS. I have flown internationally one a month this year for work and just taken the PCR test 72 hours before. If a country is going to force me to take a vaccine I don't want or need I will just go somewhere else. It is about time this scaremongering stopped. We all know the vaccine passports are about money and control nothing more.

DeltaFlyer123 July 2, 2021

NormG1 - your ideas make perfect sense, but come on, there’s no need to insult Greyhound!

bystander July 1, 2021

There has to be something which can be used around the world, like the certificates NormG1 mentions. We need a global standard I have a mobility pass with a QR code which shows my vaccination status and gives me certain freedoms which unvaccinated people do not have. But it is only recognised in my resident country. If we can still get a yellow fever vaccination certificate recognised around the world, why can't we do this for Covid vaccination?

NormG1 June 30, 2021

This situation is a complete mess. Back in the old days, you simply needed a yellow card to show that you had received the required vaccines necessary to enter a country. Malaria, Yellow Fever, and other tropical diseases required vaccinations. Show the card, get on the plane. Now, with modern data processing technologies, someone (the government, the airlines) can build a database of people's vaccination status, and then sell that data to employers or even your neighbors. Travelers need an integrated system, with guarantees that no personal identifiable data is retained. Just like going through the TSA. They look at your boarding pass, they don't scan it. And your baggage inspection is not tied to your identity. Of course, the whole TSA inspection is just for show. (It does provide work for many people, though) The terrorists are homegrown these days. They ride in pickup trucks more than airplanes. Schools are more dangerous than airplanes. Without Bin Laden's hate and money, blowing airplanes out of the sky or flying them into buildings isn't seen as politically effective. Flying used to be fun, but now it is only fun for people who have access to private jets. Today's First Class is yesterday's Coach. And Coach is Greyhound . . .

skidaddy74012 June 30, 2021

Just do not go