UAE's Etihad, Emirates now testing IATA's COVID-19 travel passport

Abu Dhabi-based airline latest to announce start of trials 

Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Two of the UAE’s major airlines, Etihad and Emirates are now testing the IATA Travel Pass, an app-based passport that seeks to simplify air travel during pandemic times. 

Etihad has just announced that passengers travelling from Abu Dhabi to Chicago, New York, Washington and Toronto, will be the first to use the app during a trial period from today (April 20) to May 31. 

Last Saturday, Emirates kicked off trials of the same mobile app, which has been introduced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to help flyers easily manage their travel. 

The IATA Travel Pass works as a go-to digital platform for people when travelling. It enables them to access information on travel/ entry, testing and vaccine requirements of the destination they wish to fly to, locate testing centres and labs and receive test results, among others. 

“A digital health passport solution will provide additional clarity and ease for travellers,” said Mohammad Al Bulooki, chief operating officer of Etihad Aviation Group

Video: Emirates and Etihad test IATA Travel Pass

How it works 

Passengers need to download the app to be able to access the digital tool.  

For those travelling with Etihad, passengers are advised to book an appointment with Life Diagnostics at Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street or BioGenix Labs at Masdar City to take COVID-19 tests. 

Upon arrival at the clinic, guests should inform the reception that they are using the travel pass and they should have their passport and mobile phone with the downloaded app ready. 

Once the test results are out, travellers can view them on both the mobile app and the testing clinic’s own digital platform. 

Users of the health passport are assured that they will benefit from priority queue access at the testing clinics, faster check-in at the airport and a free 90mb Wi-Fi voucher to use on board. 

Last week, the first passengers travelling from Dubai to Barcelona trialled the digital passport to verify and share their pre-travel COVID-19 test status with emirates. 

“The trials are a step towards making travel more convenient, enabling travellers to manage COVID-19 related documentation digitally, safely and seamlessly throughout the travel experience,” the airline said. 

In the future, passengers will also be able to show their vaccination certificates through the mobile app. 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

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