Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have expanded their respective health passport schemes. Qatar has widened its IATA Travel Pass trial and integrated vaccination status, while Etihad’s ‘Verified To Fly’ scheme will now be available on most Etihad flights.
Etihad’s ‘Verified To Fly’ expanded
Etihad Airways is widening its digital health passport app to include almost the entirety of its global network. The airline’s ‘Verified To Fly‘ scheme, which enables passengers to upload health information via website or app, can now be used ‘for the vast majority of Etihad flights.’
Etihad chose to launch its own digital health passport scheme in June. Initially, the app was available for flights departing Abu Dhabi along with select inbound flights from Amman, Beirut, Dhaka, and Manila.
John Wright, Vice President Global Airports and Network Operations at Etihad Airways, said,
“Verified to Fly has proven hugely popular with our guests, as they get a fast track experience when checking in at the airport if using Verified to Fly. Removing guesswork from the process, guests also value the assurance that when they arrive at the airport, they have already met all Covid travel requirements.”
The scheme has reportedly been a success in the short time it has been active. Those taking part are able to access the fast track ‘Verified to Fly’ check-in desks at the airport to skip the regular queues.
According to Etihad,
“Early trials showed that Verified to Fly Guests saw their processing times at the check-in desk almost halved and the average queuing time for all Guests reduced – helping expedite journeys and maintain social distancing at the airport.”
Qatar integrates vaccination certificates
Qatar Airways is expanding its trials of the IATA Travel Pass, also becoming the first airline to integrate vaccination certificates into the app. The trial will be rolled out in phases throughout July, starting with cabin crew from select destinations including Kuwait, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Sydney.
The Travel Pass app will enable cabin crew to upload both vaccination and testing information for a more seamless airport experience. The airline hasn’t revealed when the app will be extended to include passengers.
Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said,
“Qatar Airways is proud to lead the way by becoming the first airline to trial COVID-19 vaccine authentication through the IATA Travel Pass ‘Digital Passport’ Mobile App. Through trialing and supporting the development of new technologies, we aim to provide travelers with a tool that will support them to seamlessly travel across borders with greater confidence.”
The IATA Travel Pass
Several leading airlines, including Emirates and Singapore Airlines, have trialed the IATA Travel Pass over the past few months. Emirates recently announced it was expanding the Travel Pass to include ten routes, while IATA has said the pass will be available to the general public imminently.
Willie Walsh, Director General at IATA, said,
“Trials by Qatar Airways and some 70 other airlines have demonstrated that IATA Travel Pass can efficiently manage test results. This important new trial focusing on vaccination status will build even more confidence in IATA Travel Pass as a complete solution for travelers, governments and airlines.”
Do you think digital health passports will help reinvigorate the travel industry? Do you see them becoming the norm over the next few years? Let us know what you think in the comments.