Stakeholders across Europe’s aviation sector have welcomed the decision to postpone the implementation of the EU’s Entry Exit system (EES), the new smart border system for non-EU nationals.

While Airports Council International (ACI) Europe underlined the EES will be a game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed, it also pointed out there remain several issues which need to be resolved to ensure a smooth roll out and to avoid disruptions to passenger travel.

The airport trade body explained these issues include: the 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 at airports to manage the EU’s external border; the need for a public communications campaign to alert third-country nationals to the new requirements.

By delaying the implementation until after the busy 2023 summer period, airports, as well as airlines and the relevant authorities (many of which are still recovering from COVID-19), will be able to ensure the systems is fully tested and capable of fulfilling its purpose. ACI Europe  is urging 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.

The organisation is also calling for a new start date for EES to be set to ensure continued smooth aviation operations and in particular trouble-free processing of passengers at airports. Efficient coordination is also needed for 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.

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