Qatar Airways is to become the first carrier to trial the integration of vaccination certificates into the IATA Travel Pass digital passport.
The airline began trials of the IATA Travel Pass back in March this year, enabling passengers to receive Covid-19 test results and verify they are eligible to undertake their journey through an ‘OK to Travel’ status.
This latest trials goes one step further, by also enabling travellers to upload their Qatar-issued Covid-19 vaccination credentials into the app.
It will roll out in phases, beginning with Qatar Airways cabin crew returning to Doha from Kuwait, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Sydney.
On arrival into Doha crew will be then be able to “safely and securely share their vaccination certificate and proceed through immigration at the airport”.
Around 70 airlines have so far trialled the IATA Travel Pass, focusing initially on Covid-19 test results, and IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said that “This important new trial focusing on vaccination status will build even more confidence in IATA Travel Pass as a complete solution for travellers, governments and airlines”.
This week fellow Gulf carrier Emirates extended its use of the IATA Travel Pass to ten cities, following a pilot programme in April.
Commenting on the news Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, said:
“Despite the significant challenges the pandemic has caused international aviation, our industry has continued to be a leader in adopting new technologies and innovations to ensure a safe, secure and seamless travel experience for our passengers.
“Qatar Airways is proud to lead the way by becoming the first airline to trial Covid-19 vaccine authentication through the IATA Travel Pass ‘Digital Passport’ Mobile App.
“I want to especially thank Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Interior, Primary Health Care Corporation and Hamad Medical Corporation, whom without their ongoing support, this trial would not be possible.
“We know as more people begin making plans to return to their favourite holiday destinations, they will inevitably face the challenge of ensuring they have the right paperwork.
“Through trialling and supporting the development of new technologies, we aim to provide travellers with a tool that will support them to seamlessly travel across borders with greater confidence.”
For a look at the pros and cons of “vaccine passports”, and the different options being developed, see our recent features: