Aviation chiefs warn over delays at airports if Covid passes not validated online

Eurocontrol and ECAC call for digital passes to be validated online to cut check-in wait times

Aviation chiefs have warned that airports and airlines would struggle to ensure flights leave on time if Covid health checks are not implemented smoothly. Photograph: iStock

Aviation chiefs have warned that airports and airlines would struggle to ensure flights leave on time if Covid health checks are not implemented smoothly. Photograph: iStock

 

Passengers face extra delays at airports in coming weeks as air travel’s recovery continues if EU Covid passes are not validated online, aviation chiefs warn.

Eurocontrol, the organisation of EU air navigation authorities, calculates that air travel will have recovered to around 24,000 flights a day, 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, in Europe by August.

However, Eurocontrol and the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) warned on Tuesday that airports and airlines would struggle to ensure flights leave on time if Covid health checks are not implemented smoothly.

They called on EU states and health authorities to ensure that the digital pass carried by passengers with vaccinations, immunity or proof of negative tests can be ideally validated online, at check-in, to cut waiting times.

All EU states except the Republic had introduced the digital pass by its launch date on July 1st. The Government here has pledged to launch it on July 19th.

The two aviation bodies pointed out that with around 2.5 million passengers a day travelling around the EU, airport health checks could add 12 minutes per traveller to check-in times.

They pointed out that the European Commission published “useful” recommendations on June 28th, including validating the digital certificate online.

Eamonn Brennan, Eurocontrol director general, argued that if Covid health checks at airports delay passengers, “European citizens will rightly ask why this couldn’t be better managed”.

Ingrid Cherfils, ECAC president, called for a co-ordinated approach across member states and co-operation between national aviation and health authorities.