Emirates has become the latest airline to begin using the IATA Travel Pass health passport. The airline launched its trial of the app on the route from Dubai to Barcelona last week. The airline will also trial the app on its one-way route from London Heathrow to Dubai.
Around the world, countries, and borders are gradually reopening ahead of the summer season. However, most nations are opening with caution, meaning that passengers must prove COVID-19 status. Typically airlines are responsible for ensuring that this checks out before carrying a passenger to another country. Otherwise, they can be fined or banned from operating in some cases.
Launching IATA’s Travel Pass
Last week, Dubai-based giant Emirates operated its first flight with IATA’s Travel Pass app. The first passengers able to use the technology were those traveling from Dubai to Barcelona on EK185. By using the pass, passengers were able to verify their COVID-19 documentation before travel while also being able to share it with Emirates.
There are four main branches of the IATA Travel Pass application. As mentioned, one is the ability to verify and store COVID-19 statuses, such as vaccination certificates or COVID-19 test results. However, it will also be able to show passengers the relevant COVID-19 travel rules for their destination. Airbus recently launched its own app to display such requirements. Eventually, IATA will also enable the app to show a list of nearby COVID-19 testing facilities.
Barcelona & London
Initially, Emirates will only be trialing the IATA Travel Pass on just two routes, each in one direction. These will be on flights from Dubai to Barcelona and flights from London to Dubai.
While Emirates is currently operating round trips to London, it can only carry passengers from London due to England classifying the UAE as a red-risk country. Those traveling from London who choose to use the system are invited to use Emirates’ testing partner. They will then send the test result straight to the IATA Travel Pass app.
However, Emirates did reveal that it will seek to roll out the program over more routes as the trial progresses. Additionally, while the app currently only looks at COVID-19 tests, it will be expanded to include vaccination certificates in the future.
“The ability to process passengers’ COVID-19 relevant data for travel digitally will be the way forward. We are pleased to have been pioneers and partner with IATA in trialing this initiative in real time and soon will be launching other initiatives to further enhance our customer experience.”Emirates’ COO Adel Al Redha.
Other health passport initiatives
The IATA health pass was launched to bring a common standard for health passports to the industry. However, many other solutions have also been found. Some one world carriers are already using the VeriFLY app. Meanwhile, the likes of Cathay Pacific and JetBlue are among several airlines using the CommonPass app. Finally, some airlines such as British Airways are also trialing in-house solutions.