In a move that is bound to be repeated by multiple airlines as COVID-19 vaccination and testing becomes more widespread and streamlined, both Etihad and Emirates Airlines have joined Singapore Airlines in rolling out the new IATA Travel pass technology on selected flights.
The IATA Travel Pass allows passengers on participating airlines to create a ‘digital passport’ to display COVID test results and verify they are eligible to travel under current travel regulations. IATA says that the new Travel Pass will keep passengers in control of their data and facilitate the sharing of their test with airlines and authorities for travel.
Before a full rollout, Emirates says they 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 traveling from Dubai will be able to share their COVID-19 test status directly with the airline before reaching the airport through the app, which will then auto-populate the details on the check-in system.
At Etihad Airways, the IATA Travel Pass will initially be offered to guests on selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021. If successful, the airline says that the pass will be extended to other destinations on the Etihad network.
Singapore Airlines pilot program with IATA was announced in December for travelers who tested at venues in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. The customer receives a digital or paper health certificate bearing a QR code that can subsequently be verified by airport check-in staff and immigration officials. The airline says that the service will be expanded to other routes if the trial is successful, and SIA will integrate the IATA-based function into its mobile app in mid-2021.
The IATA Travel Pass was developed as four independent modules that can interact with each other. The modules cover registries for regulatory entry requirements and labs/test centers, verified certificate issuance, digital identity and the possibility for passengers to share their tests results through their mobile device.
The modules work together as a complete end-to-end solution. They can also be used separately to complement systems that others are building.
IATA developed these modules to be interoperable with other industry solutions.
The announcement of both Etihad and Emirates signing up for the IATA Travel Pass was made separately by each airline and also by IATA.