UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad have partnered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to trial 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.
For airlines like Emirates and Etihad, reopening international travel is crucial for their business models as there are limited opportunities for short-haul activities within their region. The carriers in the UAE rely on shuttling passengers between east and west through their hubs.
As such, anything that can make it happen quicker and easier to get people onto the plane again will be welcomed with open arms. Therefore, it’s not a great surprise that both Emirates and Etihad have jumped at the chance to become the launch customers for a trial of a new Travel Pass from IATA.
Emirates, prior to a full roll out, 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 even before reaching the airport through the app, which will then auto-populate the details on the check-in system.
“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.”said Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates.
“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.”said Nick Careen, Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, IATA.
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.
“COVID-19 tests and vaccinations will be key to get the world flying again. Since 1 August 2020, Etihad is the only airline requiring a pre-departure negative PCR test result for all passengers worldwide, and again on arrival in Abu Dhabi, giving our guests the added assurance of safety when they travel with us. A high priority for Etihad is for our guests to have an easy, secure and efficient way to identify and verify their information. Being one of the first airlines globally working with IATA as a pioneer partner on the IATA Travel Pass is a big step forward for Etihad’s guests and for the industry.”said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad.
“The Etihad Airways partnership to launch the IATA Travel Pass is an important milestone on the road to meaningfully restarting international travel. Our aim is to give all governments the confidence to re-open borders to travellers based on verified vaccine and testing data. The initial stage of the Etihad launch will focus on all four elements of the IATA Travel Pass modules, one of the first airlines in the world to do so.”said Nick Careen, Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, IATA.
What is the IATA Travel Pass?
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 centers, verified certificate issuance, digital identity and 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.
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