To allow cross border travel countries require different types of COVID-19 testing to avoid quarantine. But testing hasn’t been able to restore travelers’ confidence and the airline industry continues to lack passenger traffic.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) appears to hold the key to a viable solution. A IATA statement from November 23 reads that “the IATA Travel Pass” soon will be completed. It will be “a digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders”, said the statement.
The Travel Pass aims at securely connecting and passing information between governments, airlines, test laboratories, and travelers. The Pass will be a mobile app for both Android and Apple that users will download for free.
Furthermore, this app will allow passengers to find accurate information on testing and eventually vaccination requirements specific to their trip and destination they travel. It will also provide information on facilities for COVID-19 testing (or possible vaccination) the results of which will meet the destination country requirements.
The personal identifiable information in the app will adhere to high encryption standards. It will be the passenger “digital passport”. All information will be verifiable and shared with travel authorities to help travelers safely complete their journey.
In addition, the app will allow passengers to manage their travel documents in a digital format streamlining their entire travel experience.
According to IATA the testing of the Travel Pass will start with the airlines from the International Airlines Group (IAG) in the first quarter of 2021. IAG consists of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL.
Will the Travel Pass work out successfully? We’ll soon find out. However, restarting international travel is of utmost importance for many major airlines around the world.
“Today borders are double locked. Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveler identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of IATA Travel Pass. We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO in the IATA statement.