Qatar Airways has joined fellow Gulf carriers Emirates and Etihad in announcing plans to trial the IATA Travel Pass ‘Digital Passport’ app.
The app enables passengers to receive Covid-19 test results and verify they are eligible to undertake their journey through an ‘OK to Travel’ status – to read more about the initiative, see:
Qatar Airways will begin trials of the app on its Doha-Istanbul route in March, and claims it will be the first airline in the Middle East to do so.
Etihad recently announced plans to trial the app on “selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021”, while Emirates is to start the first phase of its rollout in April.
Aside from test results, IATA intends for the app to hold information on vaccinations as more and more travellers receive them, although the idea of vaccine or “freedom” passports may prove to be more controversial. For our article looking at the pros and cons of this, see:
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO, said that the Qatar Airways trial would “help us build confidence among governments and travellers that IATA Travel Pass can securely and conveniently link traveller identities with their digital travel credentials”.
De Juniac added that it would “help us prove that ICAO’s global standards for digital passports work”, and would “highlight the need for governments to accelerate their work with industry to develop global standards for health certificates—a critical enabler to safely re-connecting the world.”
Meanwhile Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker commented:
“With the most rigorous and robust Covid-19 safety programme in existence within the global aviation community, we are focused on ensuring that Qatar Airways will become the first airline in the Middle East to begin trialling the ground-breaking IATA Travel Pass technology and we are committed to supporting the airline industry as a whole through IATA’s Industry Advisory Panel.
“We hope that by investing in this technology we are able to further encourage passengers around the world to have greater confidence in the safety of air travel and begin making future travel plans over the coming months.”