The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has signed agreements with two UAE airlines to launch its new mobile app, helping passengers to manage their travel in line with government requirements for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
The travel pass will initially be offered to Etihad Airways' 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 national carrier's network.
The app will enable Etihad’s guests to create a ‘digital passport’ to receive COVID test results and verify they are eligible to undertake their journey.
Passengers will be in control of their data and facilitate the sharing of their test with airlines and authorities for travel. It will also make it convenient for passengers to manage travel documentation throughout their journey.
"COVID-19 tests and vaccinations will be key to get the world flying again. Since 1st August, 2020, Etihad is the only airline requiring a pre-departure negative PCR test result for all passengers worldwide, and again on arrival in Abu Dhabi, giving our guests the added assurance of safety when they travel with us," said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group.
Prior to a full roll out, Emirates Airlines 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 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.
Adel Al Redha Emirates' Chief Operating Officer said: "While international travel remains as safe as ever, there are new protocols and travel requirements with the current global pandemic. We have worked with IATA on this innovative solution to simplify and digitally transmit the information that is required by countries and governments into our airline systems, in a secure and efficient manner. We are proud to be one of the first airlines in the world to pilot this initiative, which will provide an enhanced customer experience and conveniently facilitate our customers' travel needs.