Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Vistara urges unified norm for vaccinated airline passengers

New Delhi: Airlines will need a “unified” solution for domestic and international air travel to enable hassle-free movement for fully vaccinated passengers, said Vistara’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Vinod Kannan.

The remark comes at a time when the Ministry of Civil Aviation is learnt to be examining a proposal to do away with RT-PCR test requirements for fully vaccinated passengers for domestic air travel. “The question around what should be done to enable domestic travel when passengers have been vaccinated has been raised with the Ministry and that is something they are working on,” Mr. Kannan said.

“We hope there will be a unified solution for domestic and international travel. What that solution will be, whether it will be a solution that IATA is proposing, or there will be another, that is something we are waiting to hear,” he told The Hindu when asked if airlines were discussing vaccine passports to make air travel easier. A vaccine passport is a document that proves a passenger has been vaccinated. Earlier this month, the G7 countries reached an agreement for “mutual recognition” of vaccine passports though India opposed their adoption. The European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate went live for a few countries on June 1 and is due for a full launch on July 1. There is also Travel Pass by global airlines’ body International Air Transport Association (IATA) that helps travellers store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines as well as helps them find information about testing and vaccine requirements for their journey.

However, international travel is likely to continue in the form of air bubble arrangements India has with 27 countries, he said. “The bubbles will stay [till a] as long as majority of the countries [feel] in the world have come to realise that this pandemic is somewhat under control. My expectation is that at least for the next few months,may be till the last quarter of this year, they are here to stay because one of the big determinants [of reopening international flights] will be how vaccinations are distributed,” Mr. Kannan said.

21/06/21 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

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