The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that lengthy UK Border checks could pose a major risk for a recovery in international travel. As part of its preparations for re-opening the UK to international travel from 17 May, IATA called on the UK government to accelerate its efforts to digitalize the current paper-based system used to manage passengers test and vaccine certificates.
When international travel ramps up from 17th May it’s critical that passengers are not left queuing for hours for the manual checking of vaccine and testing certificates. Even with limited traffic there are already reports of lengthy waits at UK Border checkpoints. This compromises social distancing measures and passenger welfare.
As part of the report of the Global Travel Task Force, the UK Government has outlined its intention to work with industry on digital systems, such as IATA Travel Pass, to manage testing and vaccination documentation, which we welcome. But there is a lot of work to do between now and 17 May. With just over a month to go, it is urgent that agreement is reached on what digital systems will be accepted, trials are conducted to ensure their smooth implementation, and communication programs reach travelers who will need to arrive at the airport prepared. There is no time to lose.