The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed a new app that acts as a verification pass for passengers who have legally taken the Covid-19 tests or vaccines required to enter a country. The app contains a global registry of health requirements that enables travelers to check the requirements of a destination before visiting. There is also a global registry of testing and vaccination centers for passengers to electronically set appointments. Furthermore, it allows passengers to securely receive and share test and vaccination certificates before boarding their flight. In addition, the app enables travelers to keep and manage digital versions of travel documents, such as their passports on their phones. This allows for documents to be flowed securely among governments, airlines, laboratories and travelers.
The air travel industry hopes that the pass will be the answer to reviving the international air travel, by promoting a safer and more secure mean of flying during the pandemic. This technologically improved and contact-free way of travel, will allow for many countries to gain confidence in the decision to reopen their borders and reduce the application of strict restrictions and quarantines. The IATA also proclaims that the travel pass will limit the risk of fraud with paper certificates; as it has been reported that some areas like the UK, France and Malaysia has had instances of Covid19 test forgery.
Singapore Airlines was the first to start trials of the travel pass in December; and airlines such as Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand are among those currently conducting trials. The IATA continues to discuss the pass with airlines throughout the Asia Pacific region. However, they will have to work harder to convince some countries, like South Korea, that the app is more feasible than paper documentation.
By the end of March, the IATA travel pass will be available for all passengers with an iOS or android device to download free of charge. Furthermore, though it is currently only associated with Covid-19 certification, the IATA asserts that it has the potential to expand and engage in numerous matters in the future.