Business aviation advocates are working with government leaders to help ease the transition in the implementation of the new EU passenger-entry programs—the Entry/Exit System (EES) and European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
Carriers that fly passengers into the EU must register for EES and ETIAS to enable the verification of travel details for arrivals into the 27 countries that make up the Schengen Area. The programs apply to Part 135 and 125 operations. NBAA noted it is still unclear whether Part 91 operators must comply, pointing out that each state may have a different definition of “carrier.”
While deadlines for both programs were delayed (requirements originally were scheduled to begin in September 2022), transitions to them are anticipated to begin this year.
The EU is estimating mid-May for the transition to begin with EES, which will replace the manual stamping of passports with electronic records. While the transition will continue until February 2024, manual stamping of passports is anticipated to end by mid-August. ETIAS, an online pre-travel and pre-boarding system for visa-exempt third-country nationals, is expected to be fully operational in 2024.
NBAA is coordinating with the European Business Aviation Association and the Canadian Business Aviation Association to help facilitate a smooth implementation for the business aviation community of the programs that are managed and overseen by the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice (eu-LISA), said NBAA director of flight operations and regulations Brian Koester.
The association recommends carriers that travel to Europe begin the registration process and warns that operators should not wait for additional guidance in hopes of being exempt from the requirements.
“The responsible position is to register and be ready to comply,” Adam Hartley, product owner, strategy, and development in global regulatory services at Universal Weather and Aviation, told NBAA. “There are no real consequences for filing when you don’t need to, but you create a risk for your passengers and crew if you don’t file and should have.”
“Despite confusion about the definition of ‘carrier’ and the possibility of different interpretations by different states, there might be negative consequences if passenger information is not provided,” added EBAA COO Robert Baltus. “The safest option, recommended by EBAA, is to always provide passenger information through eu-LISA.”