If air traffic normalizes, there is a risk of waiting up to eight hours at airports for corona tests and other documents without digital procedures.
the essentials in brief
- The World Airline Association warns of long waiting times at airports.
- The solution: digital procedures are required for corona tests and other documents.
The bureaucratic effort for flights has increased massively since the Corona crisis. The usual check-in via smartphone in the past is often no longer possible because the vaccination pass or test certificate also has to be checked.
The Corona measures therefore cost a lot of time in air traffic: while travelers spent an average of one and a half hours in airports before the pandemic, in the first half of this year it was up to three hours at peak times. This was reported by the Vice President of the World Airline Association IATA, Conrad Clifford, at the annual conference in Boston.
Have you flown since the outbreak of the corona pandemic?
Clifford emphasized that the three hours were measured with a travel volume of just 30 percent of the dimensions before the Corona crisis. The aviation industry is therefore already warning of chaos at airports if air traffic should get going again and there are no digital procedures for corona tests and other documents.
The IATA expects that waiting times will continue to increase as more and more people come to the airport. “Our models predict that without improvements to the processes, you could spend five and a half hours per trip at airports,” says Clifford. These models assume 75 percent of the travel volume before the pandemic.
If as many passengers fly as before, according to the “Spiegel”, which first reported on the annual conference, waiting times of up to eight hours would be possible. According to the IATA deputy chief, not only the additional effort for checking the corona tests is a problem, but also the longer queues at passport controls on arrival.
“Travel Pass” as a solution?
So how can waiting times be shortened? The World Airline Association sees the solution in a digital “Travel Pass” it has developed. The idea behind it: passengers can complete formalities and checks online using an app – even before they drive to the airport. The “Travel Pass” has so far been tested by 76 companies on 285 routes. Swiss had also already tested the so-called “Travel Pass App”.
According to the IATA, each company must decide individually for the introduction. So far, airlines such as Emirates, Qantas, Japan Airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have joined the “Travel Pass”. Emirates announced at the end of September that the airline would be the first to introduce the app across its entire global route network.
According to Emirates, so far, passengers have only been able to upload vaccination certificates from the EU and Great Britain to the IATA app. As the “Spiegel” reports, however, work is being carried out to be able to link a “wider range of verified digital travel documents with the app”.
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