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Could a Health and Safety Certificate Become the Norm for Air Travel?



A health and safety certificate might soon join the list of documents travelers need to present if they plan on flying, says the CEO of Etihad Airways.

Saying the industry needs a “harmonized” standard of health measures, Tony Douglas told CNBC last week that such a voucher could become omnipresent for airline travel.

“I can see that wellness certification will become a necessary function of how the whole of the world comes back to flying,” the Etihad CEO told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble as part of the Global Aerospace Summit.

The idea of such a document has been floated for a while now, ever since the coronavirus pandemic decimated demand for air travel worldwide. Ostensibly, it would help defray current steps such as temperature checks at airports or even proposed rapid COVID-19 tests administered by the airlines.

But worries about such a document include potential forgery, among other things. Still, Douglas remains confident in such a plan.

“We’ll adapt and we’ll adopt and therefore, wellness certification will probably be no (different) to the way in which visas used to be issued in order to give safe passage,” he said.

With no end in sight to the pandemic, Etihad’s Douglas said airlines will have to change to assure passengers that it’s safe to fly.

“In exactly the same way with security standards after Lockerbie, after 9/11, and with the liquid bomb threats, that saw global aviation security standards harmonized everywhere, I forecast that that’s what will happen with wellness as well,” he said.

Douglas said he was not comparing the coronavirus to terrorism, but pointing out the importance of “internationally aligned” processes.

“With those terrorism examples, over time, whole baggage screening became a global, acknowledged, harmonized standard,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and predict that, following Covid, there will be changes to the way in which wellness certification will come into play.”

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