BEVERLY HILLS, April 26, (THEWILL) – As COVID-19 vaccinations become widely available and travel demand rises, ANTHONY OKECHUKWU, in this piece, looks at the level of airlines’ compliance with the newly introduced International Air Transport Association Travel Pass.
As a way to restart the aviation industry, after several months of covid-19 pandemic, the International Air Transport Association recently developed a Travel Pass which is an app-based digital health passport.
This mobile app is designed to give travellers the information they need before flying to any destination while securely verifying that passengers meet COVID-19 health requirements for any journey.
The app, which is currently in trial phases, has attracted more than 25 airlines for partnership with IATA so that, they can begin to test the mobile app with travellers on select flights.
The list of airlines that have embraced the initiative include the Lufthansa Group and Star Alliance member, Swiss International Airlines which will be testing the IATA Travel Pass very soon.
This undertaking will make it the first airline in the Lufthansa Group to do so and will be tested with the carrier’s Zurich-London Heathrow service at the end of April, 2021.
According to a statement from the airline, “Digital health documents like the IATA Travel Pass are making an invaluable contribution to reconciling the demand for mobility with the need for health protection, to make it easier for our customers to plan their journeys with confidence and to restore the trust in travel as a whole.”
“The airline hopes that travel during this global health crisis will be made easier with tools like the IATA Travel Pass app, which will enable travelers to check up on the latest coronavirus-related entry provisions for their country of destination”.
“The app will also allow passengers to have their Covid-19 test results sent directly to the app, thus making it easier for them to show these results to airlines and authorities”.
“The new app should also bring greater speed and efficiency to the corresponding airport procedures. Privacy and data management have been increasing concerns at a time when airlines and other companies are experiencing data breaches and cyberattacks, the airline stated.
Already, the Emirates Airlines has commenced trials of the IATA Travel Pass, with the first passengers travelling from Dubai to Barcelona on EK 185 recently.
Emirates stated that, the trials are a step towards making travel more convenient, enabling travellers to manage COVID-19 related documentation digitally, safely and seamlessly throughout the travel experience.
The airline added that in the future, travellers will also be able to share vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel.
Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer said: “The ability to process passengers’ Covid-19 relevant data for travel digitally will be the way forward. We are pleased to have been pioneers and partners with IATA in trialing this initiative in real time and soon will be launching other initiatives to further enhance our customer experience.”
The COO added that the trial is being done on selected Emirates flights from Dubai to Barcelona and London Heathrow to Dubai and will soon be expanded to include other routes.
Similarly, Singaporean Aviation Regulatory Agency has announced that Singapore will, from May 2021 accept visitors who use a mobile travel pass containing digital certificates for Covid-19 tests and vaccines.
With the new development, Singapore will accept the IATA mobile travel pass for pre-departure checks, where travelers can get clearance to fly to and enter Singapore by showing a smartphone application containing their data from accredited laboratories.
On its own part, Korean Air will also test the digital IATA Travel Pass to prepare the world for safe and convenient air travel in the post-COVID-19 era.
The trial is planned for the airline’s Incheon to Los Angeles flight in May 2021 after an internal test in April 2021.
Commenting, Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President of Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security said “Partnering with Korean Air to trial the IATA Travel Pass is an important milestone towards giving governments the confidence to restart the industry. Jointly, we will help to demonstrate that aviation has developed a solution to ensure that passengers are meeting travel requirements,” said
In his remark, Korean Air’s Chief Customer Service Officer, Seungbum Lee noted “We believe that the digital travel pass will improve customer experience for passengers, as they can share health information in a convenient and secure manner and save processing time at the airports,” said
“Korean Air will continue its efforts to provide a safe and seamless travel experience through initiatives such as the travel pass”, Lee added.
As part of the goal to ‘Test & Fly’, the airline informed, that passengers can take a Covid-19 antigen test at Incheon International Airport’s testing centre and receive their results within an hour on the IATA Travel Pass mobile app, which passengers will need to install in advance.