Several airlines to trial IATA’s ‘vaccination passport’
Several airline companies – Air New Zealand, Emirates, and Ethiad, among others – will soon organize tryouts with the digital vaccination and test passport of the International Air Transport Association, IATA.
Governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing Covid-19. This means they want accurate information on passengers’ Covid-19 health status before travel. They also want to inform passengers about what tests, vaccines, and other measures they require.
People have to know where they can get tested and where they can share their results in a safe and privacy-protecting way. That is why IATA is developing a ‘Travel Pass’, a digital platform for passengers.
Travel Pass is a smartphone app that collects all countries’ travel conditions and shows the passenger’s verified test results and vaccination certificates. For privacy reasons, the system will not be linked to a central database.
The main priority is to get people traveling safely again. Pre-departure Covid-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. On Monday, Air New Zealand announced it would test the Travel Pass app on its flights from Auckland to Sidney (Australia). Passenger’s health data will be verified at the check-in.
Also, Emirates is one of the first airlines to trial the IATA Travel Pass. The pass will give passengers a ‘digital passport’ to check whether their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of their destination.
According to Emirates, “they will be able to share the test and vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel. The new app will also enable travelers to manage all travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout the travel experience”.
Copa Airlines will be the first airline in the Americas to trial the Travel Pass app. The initial trial phase is expected to start in March on select flights from Copa’s Hub of the Americas in Panama City. “The IATA Travel Pass will simplify and enhance compliance with health requirements for our passengers,” stated Dan Gunn, Copa’s Senior Vice President for Operations.
Several other airlines have announced trials of the new app, including Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and Qatar.
Brussels Airlines is aware that such an app could be ‘interesting’ for Covic-19 and other diseases like African yellow fever. The Belgian airline will not impose a mandatory vaccination for its passengers, for the time being.