Etihad Airways has become the latest airline to carry out trials of the IATA Travel Pass, with the initiative taking place on flights from Abu Dhabi to North America. This news comes after gulf carrier Emirates launched its trials last week.

Passengers flying from Abu Dhabi to Chicago, New York, Washington and Toronto will be the first to trial the digital health passport, with the initiative running until May 31.

Eligible guests are invited to download the app from the Apple App store and to book a PCR testing appointment with Life Diagnostics at Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street or BioGenix Labs at Masdar City. Guests participating in the trial will benefit from priority queue access at the two labs.

Etihad states that guests must inform the reception at the clinics that they are taking part in the trial and that they should carry their passport and mobile device with the downloaded app to the appointment. Passengers will be able to view their test result on the app and also via the testing clinic’s digital platform.

Passengers participating in the trial will also benefit from faster check-in at the airport and a free 90mb Wi-Fi voucher to use in-flight. Guest who do not wish to participate in the trial can share PCR test results with the airline by presenting a printed copy of their results at check in.

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. The digital health verification app has been under development since last year, and over 20 airlines have signed up for trials in the coming weeks and months. To read more about the initiative, see:

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer at Etihad Aviation Group, said:

“With the dynamically changing health requirements for travel, Etihad believes that a digital health passport solution will provide additional clarity and ease for travellers. Etihad has partnered with IATA so that together, a globally unified approach to a travel pass can be simplified to make travel easier once governments decide what regulations are required to cross borders in either direction.”

Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, added:

“Etihad Airways trial of IATA Travel Pass will help build confidence among governments and travellers that digital health apps can safely, securely and conveniently help restart aviation. The app gives travellers a one-stop-shop to help them comply with the new rules for travel, and for governments complete assurance in the identity of the passenger and the authenticity of the travel credentials being presented.”

Etihad recently became the first airline in the world to have 100 per cent of its operating flight crew vaccinated.

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