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Aviation industry welcomes pause on the rollout of new border system for EU

Geneva & Brussels – 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 that must be resolved to ensure a smooth rollout 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 rollout 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 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.