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Travel Pass app to launch in March

A digital travel pass could help get us back in the air more quickly.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that its digital Covid Travel Pass app will be ready to launch as early as March.

The pass verifies that a passenger has had the requisite Covid-19 tests or vaccinations to travel and that they were administered by an approved authority.

It’s believed by the travel industry that such a pass is vital to the safe reopening of air travel.

The Travel Pass was first unveiled last autumn and has been designed to work in conjunction with other digital solutions that are currently being trialled globally. British Airways is currently working on a compatible app known as VeriFLY.

IATA is working with a number of airlines to trial the app, including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand. It’s hoped it will finally go live in March, free-of-charge and available on iOS and Android platforms.

The app does not store any data centrally but simply links documentation that is needed for the journey with the authorisation of the traveller. It also includes a global registry of approved testing centres and labs around the world.

This is not the first time passengers will have been asked to provide proof of vaccination to take a trip. The World Health Organisation's ‘yellow card’ was often needed to prove users had received a yellow fever inoculation to travel, particularly to South America. However, IATA says the risk of fraud with a paper document is too great.

Despite the production of a number of vaccines, IATA still believes the recovery will be slow and hopes that its Travel Pass will speed up the journey to quarantine-free travel.

Demand for air travel has dropped by almost 70% in the last 12 months due to the pandemic with thousands of jobs lost and some airlines disappearing completely.

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