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Travel industry groups happy with delays for EU border biometric plan

Travel industry groups happy with delays for EU border biometric plan

Travel industry associations are cheering a second postponement for the EU’s biometric Entry/Exit System (EES) for border control. The latest change is blamed on contractor delays.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed in a statement is has joined the Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, A4E (Airlines for Europe) and ERA (European Agency for Railways) in supporting the delay.

“The EES system will be a game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed,” reads the post. “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.”

Businesses reportedly were not alone in favoring another pause.

According to a Friday article in The Telegraph, the delays are welcomed by European holidaymakers who feared long queues at facilities due to rushed deployment.

Reporting by the Telegraph suggests travel-arrangement firms are getting inquiries and bookings for summer travel that approach pre-pandemic levels. No one wants to see growth there threatened.

Right now, the IATA wants wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at border crossings, communication campaigns to alert third-country nationals to the new requirements and funding by member states for sufficient staff.

“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,” IATA writes.

The EU is also planning a new Travel Information and Authorization System (Etias) operated by eu-LISA, an agency focused on the operational management of large-scale information systems related to freedom, security and justice.

The updated Etias will require travelers to register with the system before entering an EU country and pay a fee of €7 (£6.13 or US$7.61). It was to have been introduced last year but is now scheduled to be operational by November.

Worries about deploying the EES without proper regulatory safeguards were highlighted in a November 2022 analysis by nonprofit civil liberties advocate Statewatch.

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