Middle Eastern carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates are partnering with The International Air Transport Association (IATA) to become two of the first airlines in the world to pilot the IATA Travel Pass, an end-to-end digital solution designed to facilitate easier air travel.
The IATA Travel Pass will enable passengers of the two Gulf carriers to essentially create a “digital passport” that can check their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of the destination to which they are flying.
“A high priority for Etihad is for our guests to have an easy, secure and efficient way to identify and verify their information,” Etihad Aviation Group Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mohammad Al Bulooki said.
“Being one of the first airlines globally working with IATA as a pioneer partner on the IATA Travel Pass is a big step forward for Etihad’s guests and for the industry.”
Etihad guests on some flights out of Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021 will have access to the service, which if successful will then be rolled out to other destinations in the Etihad network.
Emirates is expected to launch phase one of its rollout in April, when Emirates customers travelling from Dubai will be able to share their COVID-19 test status directly with the airline prior to arriving at the airport, allowing the carrier to auto-populate check-in details.
“We have worked with IATA on this innovative solution to simplify and digitally transmit the information that is required by countries and governments into our airline systems, in a secure and efficient manner,” Emirates COO Adel Al Redha remarked.
Talking up the Etihad and Emirates trials, IATA Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security Nick Careen said the initiative aimed “to give all governments the confidence to re-open borders to travellers based on verified vaccine and testing data”.
“This is the first step in making international travel during the pandemic as convenient as possible giving people the confidence that they are meeting all COVID-19 entry requirements by governments.”
“As borders re-open, IATA Travel Pass will be further enhanced with more capabilities to meet all governments testing or vaccination verification requirements and Emirates customers will be among the first to have these services.”