Global policy to remove headaches from international travel

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation has announced a new framework, the Harmonising Air Travel policy, that will remove the confusion over current international travel requirements.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has announced the Harmonising Air Travel policy, a framework that will make international travel simpler, easier, and more enjoyable by removing the confusion over travel requirements currently discouraging millions of people from booking flights.

Designed in co-operation with the United Nation’s (UN) International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the proposed framework will eradicate international travel confusion for passengers, carriers and governments by creating a single, clear, up-to-date online resource setting out requirements for entry to all participating countries.

The policy will be submitted to the ICAO General Assembly with the objective of receiving approval from Member States in October 2022.

GACA President His Excellency Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Duailej commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how disconnected the world really is. Our research shows that many people chose not to travel in 2021, and will not travel in 2022, because of confusing health requirements to get from country to country. We are delighted to launch the Harmonising Air Travel policy, a proposed framework that will unify and strengthen our industry by enabling it to navigate future health crises.

“Aviation is the lifeblood of the global economy, and it is crucial to safeguard it from future disruption. The Harmonising Air Travel policy framework demonstrates the leadership role Saudi Arabia is taking to ensure that the sector thrives in the years to come.”

According to recent YouGov research, currently 32 per cent of Americans, 47 per cent of people in the Gulf, 40 per cent of people in Italy and 40 per cent of people in the UK say confusion over health requirements will prevent them from travelling in 2022.

The policy will create a harmonised international reporting mechanism for health crises using purpose-built digital communications tools, world-class governance and coordination processes, and a system that will facilitate universal compliance, such as a globally-recognised Digital Health certificate.

As a result, travelers will have access to clear guidelines and requirements needed to get from origin to arrival. The universal platform will be able to integrate all existing international aviation and government-to-government health crises communication systems.   

The Harmonising Air Travel policy white paper was launched at the inaugural Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh. Hosted by GACA, global leaders, aviation heads and regulators convened to find solutions to the sector’s greatest challenges – including passenger experiencesustainability, and business recovery post-COVID.  

Saudi Arabia aims to become the Middle East’s pre-eminent aviation hub. Its’ transport and logistics sector, a major pillar of the Vision 2030 economic transformation plan, is undergoing rapid development. The Kingdom aims to generate just under $100 billion in investment into its aviation sector by 2030.

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