Fake Covid-19 certificates hit airlines that they now need to keep an eye on

Test results that are usually required across borders can be easily manipulated. Airlines are troubled by passengers carrying forged Covid-19 health certificates. 

According to reports, the industry organization of the Air Transport Association has tracked forged certificates in a number of countries from France to Brazil, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Border control agencies and police also reported that some people were arrested for selling documents in the U.K., Spain, Indonesia and Zimbabwe.

Airlines more reliant on cross-border travel, especially those operating in Europe, are increasingly alarmed about the summer as they are still waiting for demand to return.

The proliferation of fake health certificates is a logistical blind spot as airlines struggle to navigate pandemic travel standards and modernize their systems to facilitate compliance and drive demand. The airline stated that their employees would not be able to process and monitor all the required new medical certificates, and worried that if certain countries also apply for vaccination certificates, the problem will worsen. 

At Brussels Airlines, employees exchanged fake certificates, including one from an incident last week, to keep up to date with the techniques used by fraudsters. “They take out the names of the passengers and then show how they tried to make it look like the actual document and the techniques used,” said an airline spokeswoman.

Airlines are pushing for digital health passes that can store vaccine certificates and the results of Covid 19 and antibody tests. Industry officials say this will make it easier to track the accuracy of the documents and eliminate the need to physically review the documents at the airport. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 120 countries are using the test. The CDC requires overseas flights to the United States to check the health records of passengers, which must contain negative test results or evidence of virus recovery. 

Many governments have shifted the load of checking certificates to airlines, in a lot the identical manner carriers are required to check for correct travel visas earlier than permitting passengers to fly.

Sources familiar with the sanctions said that Deutsche Lufthansa AG was fined up to 25,000 euros by Germany for allowing passengers to board false or forged documents. According to the German police, Germany recorded 3,838 “illegal transportations” between January 24 and April 8.

According to the airline’s spokesman Jrg Waber, Lufthansa has compiled a list of test facilities it believes are operating in the country in which it operates. The Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the Federal Police, said officials were “aware of the fake coronavirus phenomenon.” and were “taking this into account when verifying the documents. 

At the same time, Qatar Airways requires that passenger certificates be sent directly from the testing clinics. Qatar Airways has already identified clinics in some countries that are ready to receive certificates. “We reduce the problem of fraudulent certificates,” he said.”But it does not mean that we have never carried forged certificates on an airplane of passengers.

At London Heathrow Airport, the extra assessments by border control have caused lines of more than six hours for arriving passengers. That is with simply 541,000 passengers passing via the airport in March, down 91.

Airlines are resisting calls to take at the obligation of verifying the certificate at check in, or some other place in the airport.

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