by Staff Correspondent
As the G7 Summit formally begins in the United Kingdom, Airports Council International (ACI) World and ACI Asia-Pacific have written to Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to urge his country’s support for the continued development and proliferation of digital health passes which will promote the safe and swift reopening of borders. Heads of State of invited guest countries Australia, India and the Republic of South Korea similarly received the request for support.
As the number of individuals already vaccinated continues to climb around the world – and the use of testing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 continues – ACI has worked with its partners in the aviation industry and with the private sector, to develop principles and standards for digital health passes. The interoperability of these passes will be a major contributor to the reopening of aviation, allowing the industry to be a key driver of the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key to the success of digital health passes, however, will be for governments to recognize the health status documentation already in circulation, which includes more than a billion vaccine certificates, proofs of recovery, and evidence of test results.
ACI has proposed that the G7 Summit explicitly recognizes this in its communique:
We recognize that as the aviation industry recovers and as our citizens start to travel, they will need to be assured of their health and safety throughout their journey. We therefore commit to support the development and introduction of digital health passes such as those being introduced by the European Union and the Blueprint developed by the Good Health Pass Collaborative and to take all possible steps to ensure their interoperability. We further commit to ensure that there is equity of access and treatment of those who do not hold a digital certificate and to ensure that all qualified travellers are able to satisfy the necessary border requirements with the minimum of restrictions or controls.
“We urge the G7 leaders to grasp this crucial opportunity to support the development and introduction of digital health passes and, most importantly, to take all possible steps to ensure the interoperability of these passes,” said Stefano Baronci, Director General, ACI Asia-Pacific.
“As passenger volume increases, airports will be faced with an unprecedented operational challenge to ensure a safe environment. An interoperable health identification system is essential to avoid multiple and divers COVID-19 checks at airports. For a system of interoperable digital health passes to have the best chance of success, there needs to be equity of access for those who do not hold a digital certificate and to ensure that all qualified travellers are able to satisfy the necessary border requirements with the minimum of restrictions or controls,” added Baronci.
Throughout the pandemic, ACI has represented the interests of airports in the international community at a global and regional level to support measures which can deliver a safe and sustained restart and recovery of the aviation industry.
“The urgent need to restore international civil aviation is unquestionable as it is a key engine of economic recovery for the national, regional, and global communities that the industry serves,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “ACI and its members stand ready to introduce measures that are necessary to provide for a safe and sustainable restart and recovery of the travel and tourism industry, but we cannot do it alone and we look to governments to provide the necessary support and regulatory framework which allows for the harmonization of these procedures.”