• Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Covid-19: IATA app could restart quarantine-free travel

  • Published at 10:16 pm February 25th, 2021
China Covid-19 Airport
File photo: Health workers in protective suits waiting to conduct Covid-19 test on staff at Pudong Airport, in Shanghai on November 22, 2020 AFP

The developers hope The IATA Travel Pass will be the key to reopening borders and to ensure quarantine-free travelling

International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association of world’s airlines, is set to launch a new app next month to help travellers store and manage their certifications for Covid-19 tests and vaccines, CNN reports. 

The developers hope The IATA Travel Pass will be the key to reopening borders and to ensure quarantine-free travelling.

The Travel Pass app works in four ways.

First, the app contains a global registry of health requirements. Passengers can check all the health requirements of the destinations they hope to visit.

This app also offers a global registry of testing and vaccination centre which will help travellers to set up appointments before their departure.

Authorized Covid-19 testing centres can use this app to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers.

And finally, travellers can create a digital version of their passport on their phone, receive and share Covid-19 testing or vaccination certificates, and manage other travel documentation which will help them manage their digital identity for contactless travel. 

"To reopen borders without quarantine, governments need to be confident that they are mitigating the risk of importing Covid-19. Testing or proof of vaccine is the solution," the IATA says on its website.

"Whatever governments plans are, we'll be ready to help them with the IATA Travel Pass," said Alexandre de Juniac, the IATA CEO said in his blog.

This new digital platform is a modernized version of the existing system. At the moment it only deals with Covid-19 certification, but it has the potential to be expanded in the future according to need.

"Governments decide the requirements to travel; airlines and passengers need to comply," the IATA says on its website. However, the airline body is not itself mandating that passengers must have a Covid-19 vaccine in order to travel.

The IATA Travel Pass will be free for passengers to download and use and the iOS and android launch is scheduled for the end of March.

Singapore Airlines will be partner for the roll-out of the first full pilot, followed by around 20 airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Copa Airlines and RwandAir.

The IATA Travel Pass isn't the only such platform in development. There are multiple travel passes primed to enter the market.

CommonPass, developed by a non-profit Commons Project Foundation is already being used in a limited manner by airlines. Computing giant IBM has also been working on its "Digital Health Pass" for nine months. 

The developers have used four open-sourced interoperable modules while designing The IATA Travel Pass that can be used together as a whole solution or in combination with solutions created by other providers. 

"We want it to be as flexible as possible," the IATA said.

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