Qatar Airways has claimed a first with the launch of its trial of Iata’s digital travel health pass.
Passengers on the Gulf carrier’s Doha-Istanbul route will begin testing the association’s test and vaccine certification platform from Thursday (11 March).
Qatar claims to be first airline in the Middle East to launch a trial; Etihad is aiming to introduce the pass during the first-quarter.
Besides being able to certify mandatory Covid travel documents, Qatar hopes the pass will play a key role in its planning transition to a more contactless passenger journey.
Iata Travel Pass provides passengers up-to-date information on Covid-19 health regulations in their destination country, and ensures compliance with global data privacy regulations to allow Covid test results to be shared securely with airlines.
"We are the industry’s firmest advocate for introducing digital solutions to help passengers safely and seamlessly navigate complex and ever-changing entry restrictions across the globe," said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways group chief executive.
"We have confidence in the credibility of the Iata Travel Pass as the industry’s most reliable and innovative solution given its strong data privacy compliance, long-standing entry rules engine and ability to provide an end-to-end solution."
Al Baker said the transition was a "huge step" towards demonstrating the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s global standard for digital passports is achievable.
"It will also assist in laying the foundation for governments across the world to come together in the development of standardised regulations to reduce the current patchwork of red tape across the international travel industry.
"In partnership with the World Health Organisation, Iata is also engaged in helping to define a standardised vaccine certificate that will be necessary for the opening of borders and scalable increase of global travel."
Alexandre de Juniac, director general and chief executive of Iata, added: "Governments are requiring testing or vaccination certifications to enable travel and the Iata travel app helps travellers to securely and conveniently manage and provide their credentials.
"All passengers using Iata Travel Pass can be confident their data is protected and governments can trust that the ’okay to travel’ means both a genuine credential and a verified identity."