Geneva & Brussels, 20 January 2023– ACI EUROPE, A4E, ERA and IATA welcome the decision to postpone the implementation of the EU’s new smart border system for non-EU nationals (i.e. Entry Exit System, EES).
The EES system will be a game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed. 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, and
- The need for a public communications campaign to alert third-country nationals to the new requirements.
The aviation industry is fully behind the roll out of EES and is committed to working with the EU and national authorities for a successful implementation. But it is important the EU and national authorities address industry concerns and provide efficient coordination for an 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 the IT systems are connected and compatible.
Postponing the implementation until after the busy 2023 summer period will give airlines, airports, 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 traveler confidence with an effective rollout of EES is critical for the aviation sector as it continues its recovery.
A4E: Kevin Hiney, email@example.com +32 499 828294
ACI EUROPE: Virginia Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org
ERA: Paula Bangle, email@example.com +44 1276 485558
IATA: Corporate Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org +41 22 770 2967
Note to editors
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 travelers travelling to a European country within the Schengen zone for short stays of up to 90 days within any 180-day period.
EU-LISA is an EU agency founded in 2011 responsible for the management of large-scale IT systems associated with the EU’s area of freedom, security and justice. It is central to the implementation of the asylum, border management and migration policies of the EU. At its recent Management Board meeting, it confirmed the decision to postpone EES implementation.
About ACI EUROPE
ACI EUROPE is the European region of Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide professional association of airport operators. ACI EUROPE represents over 500 airports in 55 countries. Our members facilitate over 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe. Air transport supports 13.5 million jobs, generating €886 billion in European economic activity (4.4% of GDP). In response to the Climate Emergency, in June 2019 our members committed to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions for operations under their control by 2050, without offsetting.
Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association, based in Brussels. A4E works with policymakers to ensure aviation policy continues to connect Europeans with the world in a safe, competitive and sustainable manner. As a key initiator of aviation’s Destination 2050 roadmap, A4E and its members committed to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions for their own operations by 2050. With a modern fleet of over 3,200 aircraft, A4E airlines carried over 270 million passengers in 2021 — down from 700 million in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, A4E members with air cargo and mail activities transport more than 3.7 million tonnes of goods, life-saving vaccines and essential medical equipment to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft. Follow us on Twitter @A4Europe.
About European Regions Airline Association (ERA)
Founded in 1980, European Regions Airline Association (ERA) is a non-profit trade association representing over 55 airlines plus around other 150 companies involved in European air transport, and is the only association that bring together the entire spectrum of companies involved in European aviation. The association supports and defends the airline industry in providing safe, efficient and sustainable air connectivity to all regions of Europe. By lobbying European regulatory bodies on policy matters, ERA promotes and protects social responsibility, environmental sustainability and the development of regional economies and local communities.
About IATA (International Air Transport Association)
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic. We support many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues.