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Digital travel pass under development

It's hoped a digital travel pass will finally get the world moving again (picture courtesy Unsplash).

Global airline lobby IATA says it is in the final stages of developing a 'Covid vaccination passport'.

With three vaccines now on the horizon and increasing numbers of governments insisting on Covid testing to cross borders, IATA (International Air Transport Association) hopes its digital Travel Pass will reopen quarantine-free travel by ensuring a secure flow of testing and vaccine information between governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.

IATA says it will be launching the pass “in the coming months” to meet the requirements of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are beginning to open up.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce said today that Covid-19 vaccinations will be compulsory on all international Qantas flights and could become mandatory on domestic routes, too. Australia's government has recently alluded to vaccination being a condition of entry into the country. Meanwhile, British Airways, American Airlines and oneworld this month launched a pilot testing scheme called CommonPass app, in a bid to reopen transatlantic travel.

The Travel Pass is based around a smartphone app and will contain a global registry of health requirement details, enabling passengers to quickly access information on travel, testing and - eventually - vaccine requirements for their journey. There will also be a listing of approved testing and vaccination centres and laboratories.

A ‘Lab App’ within the pass will then enable authorised laboratories and testing centres to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers.

And a contactless Travel App means passengers will be able to create a ‘digital passport’ to share test and vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities.

IATA has been working with IAG (International Airlines Group) to develop the pass which is now entering a trial phase. IAG owns British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia.

“Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely,” said Nick Careen, a senior vice president at IATA. “In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systemic Covid-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine programme. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both.”

The first cross-border IATA Travel Pass pilot is scheduled for the end of this year with a launch slated for early 2021.


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