The International Air Travel Association’s (IATA) travel app, set to launch in the coming weeks, could mark the first step in resuming quarantine-free international travel.
The app, first announced in November, will host verified COVID test and vaccine information and has been hailed as a key initiative to give governments the confidence to open borders.
Numerous airlines have indicated that they will introduce the app on their services, including Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Copa Airlines.
The IATA, which has 290 airlines as members, including Air Malta, believes that the app will provide a “cost effective, global and modular solution to safely restart travel”.
“Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely. In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic 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,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president, airport, passenger, cargo and security.
The app will launch with three critical design elements, according to the IATA, including “putting travellers in control of their personal information”, and the fostering of “contactless travel processes to reduce the risk of virus transmission”.
At the start of February, Panama became the first Government to participate in the app trial.
“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,” said Ivan Eskildsen, Administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority.
In addition to checking travel requirements, the IATA Travel Pass will include a registry of testing and eventually vaccination centres, eventually making it more convenient for passengers to find testing centres and labs.
The platform will also enable authorised labs and test centres to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers.
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