Iata has warned of "airport chaos" if government’s don’t adopt digital processes to check and manage Covid-19 test and vaccine certification.
The association said pre-Covid, passengers spent – on average – around 90 minutes navigating typical airport travel processes. These include check-in, security, border control, customers and baggage claim.
However, the association said the most recent data on passengers’ airport journey suggest this has doubled to around 180 minutes.
More worryingly, Iata said this was based on passenger and travel volumes at only around 30% of pre-Covid levels.
Its modelling suggests without improvements to the Covid passenger journey, these processes could amount to five-and-a-half hours per trip at 75% pre-Covid volumes – and eight hours at 100%.
"Without an automated solution for Covid-19 checks, we can see the potential for significant airport disruptions on the horizon," said Iata director general Willie Walsh.
"Already, average passenger processing and waiting times have doubled from what they were pre-crisis during peak time, reaching an unacceptable three hours. And that is with many airports deploying pre-crisis level staffing for a small fraction of pre-crisis volumes. Nobody will tolerate waiting hours at check-in or for border formalities.
"We must automate the checking of vaccine and test certificates before traffic ramps up. The technical solutions exist. But governments must agree digital certificate standards and align processes to accept them."