Airports

Relief for Airline Industry: IATA Plans a Digital Travel Pass To Boost Air Travel

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In talks with the Indian airline authorities to facilitate more flights during summer of 2021.

In order to compensate for the major setback in the aviation industry due to the COVID-19 situation, International Air Transport Association (IATA) is planning to launch a travel pass. IATA proposed this move because the fate of the airline industry lies in validating, verifying and authenticating COVID-19 tests and vaccines.

Aviation industry has faced a major decline in passenger traffic, air cargo demand, airport employment and revenues. According to the official IATA pressroom entry dated March 3rd, US air passengers are expected to reach 1 million by March 20. However, an entry dated March 2nd states that shortage of pilots may slow down travel recovery. In such a situation, a travel pass will come as a big relief, rather a major game changer for the aviation industry.

What is the Travel Pass by IATA?

The Travel Pass is a mobile application that will store all the COVID-19 related authenticated data of the traveller. The data will be documented as health certificates and will contain information such as test results and/or proof of vaccination.

All the information stored in the Travel Pass is believed to minimize the traveler verification process substantially. Many airports say that getting all the documentation verified along with tracing a passenger’s travel history takes more than 20 minutes. With all the traveler information consolidated at one place, airports will be able to accommodate rising traffic volumes over the course of time.

How will the Travel Pass Work?

According to IATA, the Travel Pass app will work in tandem with all the authorised COVID-19 test and vaccination centers. Once a passenger’s test reports are ready, or when a passenger has been vaccinated, the reports of the same will be uploaded on the app. Once this step is complete, the passenger can now share the reports with the travel validating authorities.

IATASource: https://www.iata.org/en/programs/passenger/travel-pass/

When will be the Travel Pass Available?

The test run of the Travel Pass, according to the IATA, will begin in the second week of March. For the test run, IATA is partnering with Singapore Airlines. You can say the London-Singapore flights scheduled for the second week of March may see passengers and airport authorities using the Travel Pass.

Impact of IATA Travel Pass on Indian Aviation Industry

IATA has about 290 airline companies attached to it, with Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and SpiceJet on the list. With the IATA Travel Pass, passengers planning to travel to India will have a huge advantage. Their test reports and vaccination status will be updated in the app, leading to faster checkout at the time of landing.

According to Vinoop Goel, the Regional Director of Airports and External Relations (Asia Pacific) for IATA, “IATA Travel Pass is a fully digital solution that can be quickly rolled out and can cater to a huge aviation market like India. Also, given the prevalence of e-solutions in normal Indian day-to-say activities, the Indian population is well versed with such mobile solutions and we are confident that they will be quick to adopt the IATA Travel Pass.”

Conclusion

While people booking a flight to India may find the IATA Travel Pass to be a useful application, we can’t be sure of the same for people traveling from India to abroad. The primary concern here is the linguistic diversity and the scale of the Indian air travel market. We’ll need to see how IATA Asia Pacific will address this issue. That said, this is a welcome move to streamline the travel process, especially given the situation.

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