Traveling is more complicated than ever: Lots of evidence – lots of controls. Security gaps at entry are not isolated cases in BW either. Airlines demand uniform standards. Again and again there have been problems with the corona evidence at airports. PCR tests, online entry applications, corona apps. Traveling these days involves a lot of digital preparation. And there is also a lack of uniformity in the regulations. “It’s very time-consuming. Before every flight abroad, it takes a lot of time to find out about the entry regulations. These are also constantly changing,” says a traveler who flew from Istanbul to Stuttgart at Christmas time. He wants to remain anonymous. The businessman flies a lot and often. “I was boosted and filled out the entry application for entry to Germany in advance,” he says. At Istanbul Airport, the airline checked the vaccination status at check-in. “At Stuttgart Airport, only the digital entry registration was checked, but not the vaccination status. A negative test result was not necessary when exiting and entering the country,” says the 47-year-old in an interview with SWR.
Inconsistent regulations are a problem
Lars Corsten, chairman of the Passenger Association, knows that these security gaps are not unique. “When you land in Germany, you can get everything from no control to full control. There is no uniformity,” Corsten said in an interview with SWR. It’s different in countries like Finland: Here every traveler has to show a negative test, regardless of vaccination status and country of origin, Corsten explains from his everyday life. Especially at Stuttgart Airport, due to the lack of space, the distance rules are not observed at all during the controls, according to Corsten. Another problem is the different regulations in the different countries. “Sometimes you need a negative test as a vaccinated person, sometimes not,” says Corsten. He also criticizes the different expiration dates for the PCR tests, which are different in each country. “Some countries accept 72 hours, others 48 hours or even 24 hours.” Inconsistent rules for airport checks for travelers picture-alliance / dpa picture-alliance / dpa –
Random checks by the federal police
“The new coronavirus entry regulation includes a general obligation to provide evidence for travelers regardless of the type of transport and regardless of whether a previous stay in a high-risk or virus variant area took place,” says Bianca Castan from the Federal Police Inspectorate Stuttgart SWR. From the age of six, each person must carry the following evidence with them: a negative test result, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery, according to Castan. The Digital Entry Declaration (DEA) must be carried if you come from a high-risk or virus variant area, she adds. The Commissioner explains that the obligations of transport companies such as airlines have also been adjusted. “Accordingly, since August 1, 2021, carriers who transport people by air to the Federal Republic of Germany must always check the obligation to provide evidence of ‘tested, vaccinated, recovered’ and make the carriage dependent on compliance with these obligations.” According to Castan, the checks would be carried out “extensively” as part of border controls and “on a random basis” as part of internal border surveillance.
Automated online preliminary check of the evidence
Airlines have been going digital for two years to make travel easier. A preliminary check of required travel documents between 72 and 12 hours before departure is already possible on many flights, explains Jörg Waber, press spokesman for Lufthansa, in an interview with SWR. There is a specially set up “Lufthansa Group Health Entry Support Center” to which the documents can be sent, according to Waber. The proportion of automatic checks is already around 50 percent and continues to increase. “Travellers can also store their vaccination certificates in the app’s entry data storage. These will then be used automatically for all check-in processes in the Lufthansa app in the future.” Lufthansa will have hired 500 new employees in the service center by the end of 2021, adds Waber. Information and documents from passengers “are automatically transmitted to the authorities such as the state health authorities,” says Waber. Travelers at Stuttgart Airport dpa Bildfunk picture alliance/dpa | Christopher Schmidt
Demand for uniform European standards
The airline Eurowings has also upgraded: “An online tool set up especially for the pandemic tells travelers which restrictions apply in their respective destination country according to their individual travel routes,” says Florian Gränzdörffer from Eurowings. However, the frequently changing and very complex requirements mean a lot of work for airlines, adds Gränzdörffer. “Uniform rules are needed here, at least in Europe, and globally recognized, uniform standards,” he demands. Uniform European rules and standards are also required on the part of Lufthansa, according to Waber from Lufthansa.
Document controls: Not a task for the airlines
In addition, it is not up to the airlines to check the authenticity of the documents carried, but to the sovereign authorities, emphasizes the Lufthansa spokesman. Lars Corsten from the Vereinigung Passenger eV takes a similar view. V. “Apart from that, the employees who carry out the check-ins are not highly qualified document examiners. They cannot determine whether a certificate is genuine or not,” explains Corsten further. It is the task of the federal police to control who enters Germany.
Federal police checks evidence manipulations
Commissioner Castan comments on checking the authenticity of the evidence: “Since June 2021, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) has provided the Federal Police with the valid batch designations of the vaccine batches of approved COVID-19 vaccines released nationally and in the EU as part of administrative assistance. ” All batch designations released in the states of the European Economic Area and delivered there can be checked in this way. The federal police can use the application to identify whether a vaccination card is fake or not, explains Castan. “In addition to this plausibility check of the respective designation, the approval and expiry dates are also displayed. The query result serves as an additional indicator of possible manipulation.” If necessary, the respective vaccinators or vaccination centers will also be contacted.
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