The two UAE airlines will be trialing the IATA Travel Pass, a digital passport that will facilitate safe, COVID-free travel across the world.
Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines are partnering with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to launch the IATA Travel Pass for their customers, which will help facilitate safe, COVID-free travel between countries.
Prior to a full roll out, Emirates will implement phase 1 in Dubai for the validation of COVID-19 PCR tests before departure. In this initial phase, expected to begin in April, Emirates customers travelling from Dubai will be able to share their COVID-19 test status directly with the airline even before reaching the airport through the app, which will then auto-populate the details on the check-in system.
As for Etihad, the IATA Travel Pass will initially be offered to the airline's guests on selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021. If successful, the pass will be extended to other destinations on the Etihad network.
What is the IATA Travel Pass?
As vaccines begin to be rolled out worldwide, countries and airlines are looking for ways to regulate safe flights for travelers without running the risk of carrying the virus across borders.
The IATA Travel Pass is a positive step forward in this direction. The Pass is a mobile app that serves as a digital passport that lets passengers declare to border control, airlines and other parties their medical status in regards to COVID-19. This includes a passenger's PCR results, their vaccination status, and more.
Here's a full rundown of what the Travel Pass will detail:
According to Emirates, within the IATA Travel Pass app, the integrated registry of travel requirements will 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 centers – making it more convenient for passengers to find testing centers and labs at their departure location which meet the standards for testing and vaccination requirements of their destination.
The platform will also enable authorized labs and test centers 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 describes the Pass as a "global and standardized solution to validate and authenticate all country regulations regarding COVID-19 passenger travel requirements."
IATA explains: "The main priority is to get people traveling again safely. In the immediate term that means establishing confidence in governments that systematic pre-departure COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program.
"The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both. It is built it in modules as an industry solution based on open source standards. It can be used in combination with other providers or as an end-to-end solution. The most important thing is that it is responsive to industry needs while enabling a competitive market."
You can find more information on the Pass here.