MONTREAL, 26 October 2021: The International Air Transport
Association (IATA) urged governments to use the commitments reached at the ICAO
High-Level Conference on Covid-19 (HLCC) to make real progress towards
restoring global air connectivity.

States attending the ICAO HLCC declared their commitment to
14 measures which, if acted upon, would enable airlines to meet the demands of
consumers worldwide for a revival of air travel. In particular, two commitments
need the most urgent action by governments. These are:

  • ‘Commit to taking effective measures to prevent the spread of
    SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 and other communicable diseases by
    international air travel, in particular through the implementation of the ICAO
    CART guidelines, and encourage the harmonisation of Member States’ multilayer
    risk management strategies to safely restore international connectivity and
    support the revival of the global economy as a critical step towards achieving
    our goal to enhance the social, environmental and economic sustainability of
    aviation, ensuring the interoperability and mutual recognition of, and
    accessibility to, digital applications, secure transmission and validation of
    pandemic-related testing, vaccination and recovery certification that protects
    both privacy and personal data.’
  • ‘Commit to promoting, to the greatest extent possible, a harmonised
    and inclusive approach to facilitate safe international air travel, including
    alleviating or exempting testing and/or quarantine requirements for fully
    vaccinated or recovered passengers, taking into account the different
    circumstances of individual States and their national policies, in keeping with
    WHO’s policy and technical considerations for implementing a risk-based
    approach to international travel in the context of Covid-19, and providing
    exceptions for non-vaccinated passengers. This will enable us to work towards
    strengthening the confidence of the travelling public and safely rebuilding
    international civil aviation.’

“Government-imposed restrictions continue to stop a
revival of international travel. It remains 70% down on pre-crisis levels. The
ICAO HLCC commitments show that governments understand what is needed to
restart global connectivity. The task now is implementation. Some governments
have already started. The imminent opening of the US market to vaccinated
travellers will be a big step forward. But we cannot let the output of this
meeting remain as words on paper. The airline industry, 88 million livelihoods,
3.5% of global GDP and billions of travellers are counting on governments to
deliver on the risk-managed reopening of international travel to which they
have committed,” said  IATA’s
director-general, Willie Walsh.

CART 3

Earlier this month, ICAO published recommendations that will assist
the realisation of the HLCC declaration. Known as CART 3 (the Council Aviation
Recovery Task Force), the outputs build on previous
recommendations from CART as well as the Take-off guidance and Cross-border Manuals.

Key new or updated recommendations to ICAO member states encompass:

  • Implementation and recognition of testing, recovery and vaccinations
    certificates (including digital formats)
  • A harmonised multilayer risk management approach among states to
    facilitate international travel
  • Entry of fully vaccinated and recovered passengers, including
    consideration of alleviating or exempting such individuals from testing and/or
    quarantine measures
  • Access for aircrew to vaccination as quickly as possible as
    recommended by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization
    (SAGE)

“CART 3 is a roadmap toward a risk-based, data-driven approach to
managing COVID-19. Its recommendations are the building blocks for states to
achieve the ambition of the HLCC declaration. After a year-and-a-half of
experience with Covid-19, we have the knowledge, data and experience to safely
facilitate international travel without border restrictions. All the evidence
and recommendations point towards restoring the freedom to travel for those vaccinated.
And it is also clear that we have the capability to manage those without access
to vaccination using testing,” said Walsh.

IATA Travel Pass

The industry is advanced in its preparation to efficiently manage
travel health credentials with the IATA Travel Pass. It is a solution that
responds to the HLCC’s recognition that a system will be needed to digitally
manage pandemic-related testing, vaccination and recovery certification that
protects privacy and personal data.

“Airlines cannot afford a restart that is compromised
by paper-based processes for checking travel health credentials. Testing is
complete, and several airlines are already starting implementation of IATA
Travel Pass across their networks. It’s also a ready-made solution for governments
to be prepared to efficiently manage their documentation processes as demand
ramps up,” said Walsh.