Covid-19 vaccination, testing proof should only be ‘temporary’ travel requirements, IATA says

In this photo illustration, a message saying “COVID-19 PCR test result has been verified, of

In this photo illustration, a message saying “COVID-19 PCR test result has been verified, of Travel Pass app mobile application by IATA (International Air Transport Association) seen displayed on a smartphone screen in front of IATA logo.

Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images

Travel restrictions that require proof of Covid-19 vaccines or negative tests should be lifted once the pandemic is under control, the new head of the International Air Transport Association said Wednesday.

“These are measures that may be necessary as temporary arrangements while we go through this crisis, but once we’re through it, we want to see these restrictions permanently removed so people can get back to traveling as they experienced back in 2019,” Willie Walsh, former CEO of British Airways’ parent International Consolidated Airlines Group, said in his first press briefing as IATA’s director general.

In the interim, Walsh said travelers need access to digital health certificates to make travel easier.

Airlines, hotel companies and others in the tourism industry have urged government authorities to work toward lifting travel restrictions, such as a more than yearlong entry ban on most noncitizens from Europe into the U.S. and vice versa. They also called for government officials to set standards for digital health passports as more people are vaccinated.

IATA, which represents close to 300 airlines worldwide, has rolled out its own digital health passport. IATA said Singapore will start accepting it next month so travelers can start uploading their Covid-19 test results to show airlines and immigration officials. Some airlines like JetBlue Airways and United Airlines have announced trials of another digital health passport by The Commons Project Foundation.