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‘Vaccine passport idea already exists’: French airport boss

The head of French airport group Groupe ADP has reminded the struggling industry that vaccination before travel for some destinations was already standard practice before Covid

The CEO of French airport group Groupe ADP has said the idea of mandatory vaccination before travel ‘already exists’, as the industry considers whether to require Covid-19 vaccinations for passengers.

Augustin de Romanet told the BFM Business programme: “I do not know if a vaccine will be made obligatory, but the principle doesn’t seem so mind-blowing to me.

“Currently to travel to Tanzania, for example, you are required to have precautions in place against malaria. So the idea itself that your trip is conditional upon a vaccine, is not such a strange idea for our society, and that was in place well before Covid.”

Groupe ADP, formerly known as Aéroports de Paris or ADP (Paris Airports), is the largest airport group in the world. It manages Parisian international airports Charles de Gaulle, Orly, and Le Bourget.

Some airlines have already started to require a vaccine, such as Australian company Qantas.

Global aviation body International Air Transport Association (IATA) - which has 240 airline members - is also in favour of the idea; and more than 170 international airports have already said that they will recognise an app that will allow passengers to record and prove their tests and vaccines.

Overall, the aviation industry has lost an estimated US$84 billion (€69 billion) due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the loss of almost one million indirect and direct jobs as a result.

Making a vaccine mandatory for all passengers could be one way of helping the industry back on its feet, as it would technically be considered as a “safe” form of transport, as all passengers would be vaccinated.

Mr de Romanet added: “It is possible that making the vaccine obligatory will speed up our return to connectedness.”

And while new travel bans to and from the UK - due to a new strain of the virus being discovered - have dealt yet another blow to the industry in recent days, Mr de Romaret said that there had been some signs of hope over the past month.

He said: “Since December 15...we have seen much more traffic than before. In the month of November, we had 12% of usual traffic, but yesterday it was much better. At Orly we had 42% of the usual traffic, and at Charles de Gaulle, 19%.”

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