Airlines Welcome European Council Call For Easing COVID-19 Travel Rules

With high vaccination rates across Europe, airlines and airports say it is time to lift many restrictions.

The European Council called for further coordination to facilitate the free movement of travelers within the European Union (EU) and to ease travel rules for passengers coming into the EU, following a meeting of European leaders Oct. 21 and 22 in Brussels.  

European airlines have been calling for an evolution in EU COVID-19 travel rules to reflect the new situation in Europe, which includes the rollout of vaccines. Airlines welcomed the European Council’s statement. 

“This conclusion is really encouraging. We want . . . [EU] member states to better coordinate between themselves,” an Airlines for Europe (A4E) spokeswoman told the Aviation Week Network.  

A4E, Airports Council International-Europe (ACI-Europe) and the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) had all pushed the EC to move in a new direction, considering 74% of adults in the EU have received a vaccination. The organizations are calling for the elimination of the color-coded system introduced last year that, for example, denotes a "COVID unsafe" country as being on the "red list." 

The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) has recently said the color-coded system is outdated, given high European vaccination rates.  

For holders of a Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) showing proof of vaccination, all travel restrictions should be lifted, the aviation organizations argue.   

Photo credit: Ronnie Kaufman/Getty Images

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