UAE based carriers Emirates and Etihad are among the first airlines in the world to trial the IATA Travel Pass; a mobile app to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel, in line with any government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information.
What's IATA Travel Pass?
The IATA Travel Pass enables passengers to create a ‘digital passport’ to verify their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of their destination. They will also be able to share their test and vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel. The new app will also enable travellers to manage all travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout the travel experience.
The IATA Travel Pass has been developed as four independent modules that can interact with each other. These modules cover:
- Registries for regulatory entry requirements and labs/test centres
- Verified certificate issuance
- Digital identity
- The possibility for passengers to share their tests results along their journey via their mobile device
These modules can work together as one complete end-to-end solution, or they can be used separately to complement systems that others are building. IATA has developed these modules to ensure they are interoperable with other industry solutions.
The platform will also enable authorized labs and test centres to securely send test results, or vaccination certificates, to passengers. The global registry, managed by IATA, will manage and allow the secure flow of necessary information amongst all stakeholders, this is intended to provide a seamless passenger experience.
The IATA Travel Pass will initially be offered to Etihad’s guests on selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021. If successful, the pass will be extended to other destinations on the Etihad network.
The IATA Travel Pass will enable Etihad’s guests to create a ‘digital passport’, in which they can store COVID test results and verify that they are eligible to undertake their journey. Importantly, the IATA Travel Pass will keep passengers in control of their data and facilitate the sharing of their test with airlines and authorities for travel. It will also make it convenient for passengers to manage travel documentation throughout their journey.
Emirates will implement phase 1 in Dubai for the validation of COVID-19 PCR tests before departure. In this initial phase, expected to begin in April, Emirates customers travelling from Dubai will be able to share their COVID-19 test status directly with the airline; this can be done even before reaching the airport via the app, which will then auto-populate the details on the check-in system.
IATA Called For A Common European Digital Vaccination Certificate
IATA urged all branches of the European Union to support an initiative, from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to agree a common digital European COVID-19 vaccination certificate, one that would enable those who are vaccinated to travel freely within Europe without the need for COVID-19 testing.
In an open letter, copied to key policy-makers across the EU, from the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac have called upon all EU States to coordinate to form a policy; one that would see Europe safely gain the economic and social benefits of renewed freedom of movement, beginning with those who are vaccinated.
“Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ initiative should be urgently adopted by the Commission and all member states. Vaccination is a fundamental key to safely reopening borders and stimulating economic recovery. A pan-European mutually recognized vaccination certificate would be an important step towards giving governments the confidence to safely open their borders, and passengers the confidence to fly without the barrier of quarantine.”IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac
The Greek proposal is for a harmonized vaccination certificate that could contribute “to the re-establishment of mobility on a global scale, which is the foundation for re-establishing economic activity to pre-crisis levels”. The requirement for a harmonized safe aviation restart is more urgent than ever, especially in the face of renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions across the world.