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Qatar Airlines First to Trial Covid Travel Pass

Qatar Airlines First to Trial Covid Travel Pass

Qatar Airlines has announced that it will trial the new IATA Travel Pass for mobile in March. It could be a major step in a return to safe and confident flying.

The pass – which will serve as a digital Covid passport – will debut on the Doha-Istanbul route and will allow passengers to get their test results in a verifiable and safe format. If tests are negative, the pass will display that it’s safe to travel. Emirates and Etihad have already announced plans to test the pass in April.

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group chief executive, said: “The Iata Travel Pass effectively acts as a ‘digital passport’ for travellers.

“[It] is the latest tool in our fight against the spread of Covid-19, enabling passengers to securely and effortlessly navigate their travel plans, safe in the knowledge that their verified travel credential is based on the latest Covid-19 information, the strictest data privacy regulations and entry rules for the destination they will travel to.

“We hope that by investing in this technology we are able to further encourage passengers around the world to have greater confidence in the safety of air travel and begin making future travel plans over the coming months.”

A Pass for All Eventualities

Within the IATA Travel Pass app, the integrated registry of travel requirements will also enable passengers to find accurate information on travel and entry requirements for all destinations regardless of where they are travelling from. It 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 platform will also enable authorised labs and test centres to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers. The global registry, managed by IATA, will manage and allow the secure flow of necessary information amongst all stakeholders and to provide a seamless passenger experience.

IATA’s director-general and chief executive, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “Iata Travel Pass will verify testing or vaccination credentials of travellers, which is the key to unlocking travel without quarantine measures. The Qatar Airways digital passport trial will help us build confidence among governments and travellers that Iata Travel Pass can securely and conveniently link traveller identities with their digital travel credentials.

“And it will highlight the need for governments to accelerate their work with industry to develop global standards for health certificates – a critical enabler to safely re-connecting the world.”

In developing the pass, IATA worked closely with other international carrier groups including IAG, which Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Level and Vueling as subsidiaries.

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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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