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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Global digital travel pass set to take off in weeks


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it will officially launch its digital Travel Pass on phone devices soon.

The head of global airline body IATA announced on Thursday that the long-awaited digital Travel Pass is set to come into play in the coming weeks, enabling passengers to create a secure digital version of their passports with their vaccination certificate and Covid-19 test results linked to it.

As part of efforts to make global travel a lot smoother for millions around the world, IATA’s mobile application, which has been already tested by a number of carriers, is designed to facilitate passenger screening at the airport check-in and aircraft boarding.

All necessary documents will be easily accessible at all times via personal mobile phones. IATA has also upgraded the app for passengers at immigration check points upon arrival.

“(The) feedback (has) been very positive. We expect to go live out of the testing mode in the next couple of weeks,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh told reporters during an online media briefing.

About 60,000 travellers have been registered to test the new app, Walsh added. 

Read also: Digital travel pass set to take-off this month

IATA had previously stressed that all personal information will be secured and encrypted, “which means it will not be stored on a central database,” thus ensuring the privacy of users.

The app verifies whether people are eligible to travel through an ‘OK to Travel’ status on their phones and is expected to help speed up check-ins at airports across the world.

“To re-open borders without quarantine and restart aviation governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing Covid-19. This means having accurate information on passengers’ Covid-19 health status,” IATA said earlier on its website.

Qatar Airways was the first airline in the Middle East to trial the IATA Travel on its Doha-Istanbul route on March 11, in partnership with Qatar Ministry of Public Health, Primary Health Care Corporation and Hamad Medical Corporation.

“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,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways Group.

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