MIAMI – Several airlines over the past few months have made headlines with the launch of the IATA Travel Pass, a step for a gradual uniform revival of air travel.

As the world currently sits in a rather restrictive and tense state due to COVID19, restrictions between countries and state borders all over are constantly changing and creating an ever confusing situation for passengers to travel.

To solve this, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) the global trade association for airlines came up with a program called the ‘IATA Travel Pass’ with an objective to revive air travel in an orderly manner by following a certain set of uniform methods that brings peace of mind to traveling passengers.

The only way to do so is once the government is provided sufficient information in regards to covid tests, vaccines, the authenticity, and other possible requirements from each and every passenger – a “health status.”

Various governments across the globe must be confident enough with their capabilities before in respect to managing the internal performance of the pandemic and also closely monitor and handle the inflow and outflow of all overseas travelers before lifting restrictions.

Image: IATA

Successful Trial

Back in March, the IATA Travel Pass was successfully trialed on a Singapore Airlines (SG) flight to London where a group of passengers used the new travel credential system to enter the UK.

The trial is the beginning action on the establishment of a digital document as valid proof of either a negative COVID-19 test or successful vaccination thus doing away with the burden of paper documents both at airline and border control.

According to an IATA press release, digital health proofing must be accepted as a valid non-paper document when clearing formalities but also at government levels and cited the United kingdom as being one step ahead of others on setting the way to normal international travel.

Photo: IATA

So What Does the IATA Travel Pass Provide?

  • It helps govermnets by verifying the authenticity of vaccines and test alomg with the certificates.
  • It helps passengers traveling by a specific airline with accurate information on test requirements and makes sure that a passenger meets these requirements prior to travel.
  • It grants permissions to various laboratories to issue certificates to passengers that will be recognized by governments.
  • It helps travellers with accurate information on testing requirements and possible locations for one to get tested or vaccinated.
Photo: IATA

How Does the Pass Work?

The IATA Travel Pass comes in the form of a mobile application available on Android and iOS devices. Once downloaded, it allows each and every passenger to store, track and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests and/or vaccines. One can simply present their digital certificate to the authorities before their flight eliminating the use of paper certificates.

It also has details on where they can get tested and also allows them to share their results with state authorities in a verified and safe manner.

The pass provides governments the means to verify the authenticity of tests or vaccinations avoiding passengers producing fake certificates. This method is the safest and most efficient one out there.

Working overview of the pass. Image: IATA

IATA Travel Pass in Use

The trial for the pass is open to all airlines. At present more than 45 airlines globally have incorporated this program as an initiative and expect to expand its use shortly.

The latest airline to join the program was India’s Indigo (6E) on August 3, 2021. After successful trials, Etihad Airways (EY) has expanded the IATA Travel Pass on flights between Abu Dhabi and

Bangkok (BKK), Barcelona (BCN), Geneva (GVA), Madrid (MAD), Milan (MXP), New York (JFK), and Singapore (SIN) and offers a convenient platform for managing COVID-19 documentation.

Confidence amid Chaos

Last month, groups representing airlines and airports warned of possible chaos at airports following the adoption of an EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC). The fear expressed is linked to possible hours-long queues at arrival unless efforts are coordinates and certificates checked prior to their arrival at airports.

The DCC, aka ‘Green Pass’, came into force on July 1 notwithstanding warnings issued by Airport Council International (ACI), Airlines for Europe (A4E), IATA, and European Regional Airlines Association (ERA) addressed to EU leaders and pointing out a “worrying patchwork of approaches” depending on countries.

IATA states its Travel Pass will allow governments the confidence to reopen borders gradually without quarantine.

“Testing, or proof of vaccine, is the solution. IATA Travel Pass will manage and verify the secure flow of testing or vaccination information between governments, airlines, laboratories, and travelers which will guarantee the traveler’s COVID-19 status,” IATA says.

Featured image: IATA Travel Pass passport. Photo: IATA