Aviation industry bodies have slammed an EU Council agreement to recommend coordination of travel restrictions, warning it “falls far short” of what the industry and travellers need.

Iata joined Airlines for Europe (A4E) and airports association ACI Europe in condemning the recommendation issued on October 12.

The associations branded it as “shallow coordination” and “a failure”, and warned it “leaves the door open” for states across Europe to continue act independently on border rules.

The Council agreed a set of common criteria for applying quarantine restrictions, along with the sharing of data and a weekly mapping of infection rates according to a traffic-light system where green signifies a low risk of Covid infection, orange an increased risk and red high risk.

It insisted “coordination is essential”.

However, the Council noted “the recommendation is not legally binding” and asserted: “The decision on whether to introduce restrictions to protect public health remains the responsibility of member states.”

It also asked that member states intending to apply restrictions on travel to and from another EU state “inform the affected member state if possible 48 hours in advance” and make information on changes public “24 hours before the measures come into effect”.

A4E, ACI Europe and Iata hit out, insisting: “It falls far short of what the Council was supposed to deliver.

“The current lack of coordination has killed the nascent recovery of travel and tourism, jeopardising millions of jobs.

“The recommendation does not propose to replace quarantines by testing, meaning borders remain closed.

“It leaves the door open for member states to refuse entry to citizens travelling from other member states and fails to harmonise the rules applicable for cross-border and domestic travel.”

The associations argue the recommendations also conflict with the EC’s principle, stated on May 13, that travel restrictions be lifted between areas that have “sufficiently similar” rates of infection.

In a statement, they said: “It does not create a sufficient window of certainty for travellers, as member states have only committed to publishing information on new measures 24 hours prior to their entry into force, as opposed to the five days the EC proposed.

“These shortcomings are a political failure.”