A test program will begin with British Airways parent company IAG SA this year before arriving on Apple devices in the first quarter and Android devices from April, IATA said. Travelers can share their status with border officials or present a QR code to scan.
Qantas Airways Ltd. said on Monday that a Covid-19 vaccination would be a necessity for its international passengers. CEO Alan Joyce told Channel 9 in Australia that he has discussed the idea with other airlines and that it will likely become a pre-boarding requirement worldwide.
“It will be a common theme at all levels,” Joyce said.
As international travel remains in the doldrums amid a patchwork of local restrictions and lockdowns, countries are starting to adopt tests to shorten or remove quarantines for arriving passengers. The first vaccines should be available in the coming months. This has sparked a series of technological measures aimed at devising mechanisms to monitor travelers’ Covid credentials and tackle false claims from people desperate to fly.
IATA’s head of passenger and security products Alan Murray Hayden said in a briefing that the group’s goal is to get people flying again and that he would be happy to work alongside other suppliers. .
The Travel Pass will be free for travelers and governments, with airlines paying a small fee per passenger to use the service. It will be based on the long-standing IATA Timatic system to verify documents. The app will use blockchain technology and won’t store data, said Murray Hayden.
The industry group has had positive discussions with a government on the use of the software and expects other countries to participate, he said.
Although the IATA plan remains in development, the CommonPass app developed by the World Economic Forum and the nonprofit Commons Project Foundation has been tested on flights between London and New York, while the AOKpass of the International travel security company SOS is used between Abu Dhabi and Pakistan.
The two are vying for the impending travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore, according to the companies.
United Airlines, which is leading the trials between the United States and the United Kingdom, announced Monday that it would extend Covid testing to flights from Houston to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Passengers can take a self-collected postal test, allowing them to start their vacation or meetings as soon as they arrive.
The race is on to set a global standard and deploy technology so the travel industry can get back on its feet, International SOS co-founder Arnaud Vaissie said in an interview.
“There is massive pent-up demand,” he said. There is also “a huge fear about travel and that’s what we’re trying to alleviate.”