March 3, 2024

IATA Travel Pass ‘ready by end of March’

IATA is set to begin trials of its digital Covid travel pass and says the technology will be completely ready by the end of March.

The mobile app will hold a registry of entry requirements, a registry of labs, test centres or vaccination providers, and passengers’ test or vaccination certificates. It will also serve as a digital identity to verify the owner of certificates.

IATA said the entry requirement registry is already in use and the other elements will be ready by the end of March.

“These modules can work together as one complete end-to-end solution or they can be used separately to complement systems that others are building,” said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

“Our approach in developing these modules is to ensure they are interoperable with other industry solutions.

“The basic features of IATA travel pass are being built to comply with defined global standards, where they exist, and where standards are not already in place we will publish the interfaces and open them up for use by third parties.”

A spokesman for American Express GBT said: “We’re very supportive of IATA’s stance and on anything that brings consistency and commonality to processes. The more global that consistency is, the better for everyone. GBT is in dialogue with a number of parties, including IATA, the airlines and companies developing these digital passports. The priority must be to make sure we avoid long-term fragmentation in this area.”

Emirates and Etihad Airways have been selected to trial the pass.

Emirates expects to start the first phase in April when its customers travelling from Dubai will be able to share their Covid-19 test status directly with the airline before reaching the airport through the app, which will then auto-populate the details on the check-in system.

The travel pass will also be offered to Etihad Airways passengers on selected flights from Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, IATA issued a statement urging all branches of the European Union to support an initiative from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to agree a common digital European Covid-19 vaccination certificate that would enable those who are vaccinated to travel freely within Europe without Covid-19 testing.

In an open letter to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and copied to key policy-makers across the EU, de Juniac said: “Vaccination is a fundamental key to safely reopening borders and stimulating economic recovery. A pan-European mutually recognised vaccination certificate would be an important step towards giving governments the confidence to safely open their borders, and passengers the confidence to fly without the barrier of quarantine.”

EU Heads of State meet tomorrow (Thursday) and Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ proposal is on the agenda.