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Europe’s regional airlines welcome delay of EU new smart border system

The European Regions Airline Association has joined with other aviation organisations to welcome the decision to postpone the implementation of the EU’s new smart border system for non-EU nationals, i.e., the Entry Exit System (EES).

The Entry/Exit System (EES) is an automated IT system for registering non-EU nationals travelling for a short stay, each time they cross the external borders of European countries using the system. The EES will apply to all non-EU travellers travelling to a European country within the Schengen zone for short stays of up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

“The EES will be a game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed,” the ERA said, adding, “there are, however, a number of issues which must be resolved to ensure a smooth roll out and operation of the new system so that air passengers do not face disruptions.

These issues include:

  • wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at national border crossing points by national authorities.
  • funding by Member States to ensure a sufficient number of trained staff and resources are deployed to manage the EU’s external border, particularly at airports.
  • deployment of sufficient resources to support the implementation of new procedures by airports and airlines.
  • the need for a public communications campaign to alert third-country nationals to the new requirements.

It said that while the aviation industry is fully behind the rollout of EES and is committed to working with the EU and national authorities for a successful implementation, it is important that the EU and national authorities address industry concerns and provide efficient co-ordination for effective implementation. “This includes EU-LISA (the agency responsible for managing the system) strengthening its communications with the industry, and with international partners such as the US, to ensure IT systems are connected and compatible,” it said.

ERA added that postponing implementation until after the busy 2023 summer period will give airlines, airports and EU and national authorities the opportunity to resolve these issues and ensure the system is fully tested. “We therefore urge all those involved to make the best use of the extra time now available to address the outstanding issues and ensure enough resources are deployed for its introduction.”

“A new start date for EES should be set to ensure continued smooth aviation operations and in particular trouble-free processing of passengers at airports. This will help deliver the time savings the European Commission identified as the biggest benefit of EES. Building traveller confidence with an effective rollout of EES is critical for the aviation sector as it continues its recovery.”


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