MIAMI – In a common move, groups representing airlines and airports have warned of possible chaos at airports following the adoption of an EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC).
The fear expressed is linked to possible hours-long queues at arrival unless efforts are coordinates and certificates checked prior to their arrival at airports.
The DCC, aka Green Pass, came into force on July 1 notwithstanding warnings issued by ACI (Airport Council International), A4E (Airlines for Europe), IATA (International Air transport Association), and ERA (European Regional Airlines Association) addressed to EU leaders and pointing out a “worrying patchwork of approaches” depending on countries.
The “Green Pass” uses a QR code to identify travelers as fully vaccinated, immune since recovered from COVID or negatively tested. The certificate allows free travel across Europe but it implies that supplemental checks are to be carried out and appropriate QR reading equipment made available.
Fears of Document Check Duplications
The warning, issued by the afore-cited associations, took the form of a letter stating that the expected increase in traffic would result in a chaotic situation at airports. It also added that the only way to avoid queueing and delays at airports was to adopt a system that processes the DCC within the passenger locator form – the PNR, Passenger Name Record, thus avoiding this operation at the airport.
Another point brought forward in the letter states that document checking should be done only by the country of departure and not repeated upon arrival, pointing out that “a high level of fragmentation and differences in the implementation of the DCC as well as continued duplication of document checks in several states is alarming.”
On the subject, IATA European Vice-Presidency warned that the time spent at the airport during travel has increased to three hours from a pre-Covid time of 1 h 30 min and a risk exists to see this time increase to an unacceptable level of five or eight hours, as a worst-case and if nothing is done to control the situation.
Cracking down on Fake Digital Covid Certificates
The reasons behind these fears are the high number of combinations of checks, up to ten, expected to be applied by single countries and based on national politics, which would duplicate measures and undermine travelers’ trust in free travel.
In related news reported by Schengenvisainfo, on July 3, the Italian police have busted several online schemes selling fake DCC as well as Covid vaccines. The Milan cybercrime prosecutor’s office found out that several hundreds of potential customers were ready to purchase fake certificates on the dark web and pay via cryptocurrency with equivalent prices ranging from US$32 to US$158 (€110 to €132).
Featured image: EU Digital COVID certificate. Photo European Parliament Media