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Copa Airlines and Panama Government to Trial IATA Travel Pass

Copa Airlines and Panama Government to Trial IATA Travel Pass

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is partnering with the government of the Republic of Panama and Copa Airlines to trial IATA Travel Pass – a mobile app to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information.

Using IATA Travel Pass, Copa Airlines passengers will be able to create a ‘digital passport’. This will allow passengers to match their travel itineraries with the COVID-19 health requirements of their destination and validate that they are in compliance with these. The initial trial phase is expected to begin in March on select flights from Copa’s Hub of the Americas in Panama City.

“At Copa Airlines we are proud to be pioneers in the implementation of IATA Travel Pass, working together with IATA and the government of Panama. The IATA Travel Pass will simplify and enhance compliance with health requirements for our passengers. An international standard solution for digital health passports such as IATA Travel Pass holds the key to the safe restart of the travel and tourism industry, which is an important contributor to Panama’s and Latin America’s economy.” – Dan Gunn, Copa’s Senior Vice President for Operations.

In addition to checking travel requirements, IATA Travel Pass will also include a registry of testing and eventually vaccination centres – making it more convenient for passengers to find testing centres and labs at their departure location which meet the standards for testing and vaccination requirements of their destination.

“The Government of Panama supports the implementation of this important tool developed by IATA that, through its integration with different stakeholders, will allow passengers to comply with our health requirements, thus restoring confidence in travel and tourism, important pillars for the country’s economic recovery.” – Ivan Eskildsen, Administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority.

The platform will also enable authorised labs and test centres to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers. This will manage and allow the secure flow of necessary information amongst all stakeholders and to provide a seamless passenger experience.

The three gulf airlines – Emirates, Etihad and Qatar – have all signed up to trial the pass, but so far no European government has officially sanctioned it. However, in a recent interview with the Portuguese press, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stated that she supported the idea of a common vaccination certificate. It would be established by the EU and issued by member states to every person who has a Covid-19 vaccination.

 

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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