Ryanair has launched a Covid-19 Travel Wallet, which it says will allow customers to upload vaccination certificates, test results, personal locator forms and other documents “in the one location with zero fuss or paperwork to worry about”.
The ‘C-19 Wallet’ will only be available in the Ryanair app, and is designed to help passengers store all Covid-related travel documents that may be necessary for summer travel.
"The successful roll-out of Covid vaccines will see the return of EU holiday travel in summer 2021,” the airline predicts, adding that the wallet “will make EU air travel as seamless as possible for customers this summer.”
Vaccine roll-outs are ramping up and countries including the UK, Greece, Cyprus and Israel have begun discussing travel arrangements that may see tourism corridors reopen. However, a broader loosening of travel restrictions before summer is by no means assured.
In Ireland, Nphet's Dr Tony Holohan has said foreign holidays are "not realistic” this summer, and Government focus is on locking down travel rather than opening up, with the first quarantine hotels for passengers from high-risk countries expected to open next week.
Ryanair says it is confident, however, that the EU’s vaccine roll-out programme will see the removal of current EU travel restrictions “in time for the school holidays (June to September)”, though it also believes EU governments “won’t have a vaccine passport in place for this summer”.
"We believe that once the high-risk/elderly population of Europe is vaccinated by the end of May or June, travel restrictions will be relaxed and air travel will experience a bounce back from pent-up customer demand that will see European families travelling again for well-earned summer holidays to the beaches of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece,” said Dara Brady, the airline’s Director of Marketing.
The EU is discussing a ‘Digital Green Pass’ that it hopes might provide a standardised tool to help reboot travel, though such an app or document seems months away.
So-called “vaccine passports” are the subject of much debate. Some say they could help safely reboot devastated travel and tourism industries, but there is not yet a scientific consensus as to whether vaccines prevent transmission of Covid-19, and concerns range from data protection and security to the ethics of allowing vaccinated travellers more freedom.
Several digital health apps are already being trialled, including the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass, the non-profit CommonPass and VeriFly, which is being piloted by British Airways and American Airlines.
Ryanair has previously said it would not require short-haul passengers to show vaccination certificates in order to travel, but countries themselves could require them for entry, or to enable travellers avoid quarantines.
Airlines could be required to check future documentation – similar to current rules regarding travel test results.