The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the development of their Travel Pass last November with the intention that it would have the capability of securely storing and sharing key data including Covid-19 test results and vaccination records.
More details were announced just before Christmas and the New Year bought news that Singapore Airlines would begin the first pilot of the app on routes to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.
IATA now has two more partners in the roll out of the app after both Etihad Airways and Emirates announced plans to trial the product which may become key in reopening borders.
Etihad will start to utilise the app on select flights from Abu Dhabi during the first quarter of 2021 and will extend the trial to more routes if the trial is successful.
Emirates have announced that they will trial the app from April for flights departing Dubai. Initially it will be used to validate Covid-19 PCR test results.
“While international travel remains as safe as ever, there are new protocols and travel requirements with the current global pandemic. We have worked with IATA on this innovative solution to simplify and digitally transmit the information that is required by countries and governments into our airline systems, in a secure and efficient manner. We are proud to be one of the first airlines in the world to pilot this initiative, which will provide an enhanced customer experience and conveniently facilitate our customers’ travel needs.”Adel Al Redha Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer
“We’re proud to work with Emirates to make IATA Travel Pass available in the Middle East region. With its global customer base and network traffic, Emirates as a partner will also bring invaluable input and feedback to improve the Travel Pass programme. This is the first step in making international travel during the pandemic as convenient as possible giving people the confidence that they are meeting all COVID-19 entry requirements by governments. As borders re-open, IATA Travel Pass will be further enhanced with more capabilities to meet all governments testing or vaccination verification requirements and Emirates customers will be among the first to have these services.”Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security
The IATA Travel Pass states that it has encrypted data under the control of the user and not stored centrally to ensure security of information. It will include:
- Verified identity data
- Verified Covid-19 test results
- Verified vaccination records including for Covid-19
- Relevant travel documentation to allow for a contactless travel journey
Meanwhile the Director General of IATA has reiterated his comments last week that testing was the immediate answer to reopening of borders but that vaccinations would become more important as the world-wide roll out continues.
“We will not be able to eliminate the risk of Covid-19 in any foreseeable timeline. So we must learn to manage the risk of Covid-19 so that we can safely resume more normal lives and activities – including travel.”
“For travel and tourism, testing is the immediate solution to re-open borders. And eventually that will transition to vaccine requirements. For both we need a globally accepted means to verify that people have accurate tests or genuine vaccines.”Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) last week criticised the use of quarantines and potential plans for vaccination requirements for travel. Qantas became the first International Airline to indicate that they would require proof of vaccination to allow travel in the future.
Photo credit Hasan Basri on flickr
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