Qatar Airways has become the first airline in the Middle East to trial the IATA Travel Pass digital health passport app.

Passengers on the carrier’s Doha-Istanbul will be the first to be invited to take part in the trial, which Qatar Airways says will offer “a more safe, secure and contactless experience for travellers”.

The airline is partnering with IATA, the Qatar Ministry of Public Health, Primary Health Care Corporation and Hamad Medical Corporation for the trial.

The IATA Travel Pass 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:

IAG working with IATA on its new Travel Pass

Qatar Airways says the app will also ensure “passengers receive up-to-date information on Covid-19 health regulations at their destination country”.

Earlier this month Singapore Airlines announced plans to trial the app on its London route, and several carriers have signed up for trials in the coming weeks and months, including Air BalticMalaysia AirlinesRwandair and Air New Zealand. Gulf carriers Emirates and Etihad are also set to launch trials in the coming weeks.

Singapore Airlines to trial IATA Travel Pass on London route from March 15

Commenting on the news Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, said:

“We have confidence in the credibility of the IATA Travel Pass as the industry’s most reliable and innovative solution given its strong data privacy compliance, long-standing entry rules engine and ability to provide an end-to-end solution. We are proud to be at the forefront of trialling this platform, being one of the first globally and the first airline in the Middle East to trial the technology.

“With the strictest data privacy regulations, IATA Travel Pass is a huge step towards proving that ICAO’s global standards for digital passports do work. It will also assist in laying the foundation for governments across the world to come together in the development of standardised regulations to reduce the current patchwork of red tape across the international travel industry.

“In partnership with the World Health Organisation, IATA is also engaged in helping to define a standardised vaccine certificate that will be necessary for the opening of borders and scalable increase of global travel.”

For a look at the pros and cons of “vaccine passports”, and the different options being developed, see our recent features: