Iata Travel Pass app to go live within 'weeks', Iata boss says

Several Middle East and global carriers will launch the travel app within weeks following the testing phase, Willie Walsh says

Iata will launch its travel pass app in the "next few weeks", Willie Walsh, director-general of Iata, said at a June 10 press briefing. Courtesy Iata. 
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The Iata Travel Pass, a Covid health app being tested by airlines around the world, is set to go live within weeks, according to the International Air Transport Association's chief.

A number of Middle East and global carriers will launch the digital travel pass for Covid-19 test results and vaccine certification, Willie Walsh, director-general of Iata, told reporters at an online media briefing on Thursday.

The Iata Travel Pass has so far received "very positive" feedback, according to the global airline body's chief.

"We expect it to go live out of the testing mode in the next couple of weeks," Mr Walsh said.

About 60,000 people were registered to test the system, he added.

Emirates, Etihad Airways, Saudia and Gulf Air are among the regional airlines conducting trials of the Iata Travel Pass on select routes. The anticipated mobile app launch comes as Iata urges governments to allow the integration of digital Covid certificates into passenger applications, such as its Travel Pass, to relieve pressure on airports and immigration check-points as the number of travellers ramps up.

The Iata chief also berated attempts by airports and suppliers in the Middle East and Africa region to recover losses incurred during the pandemic through "significant increases" in charges.

"This this is very disappointing at a time when we're hoping to see the industry restart," Mr Walsh said, noting that the hikes will discourage airlines from increasing or recovering the capacity that they had in the market.

Mr Walsh called for "sensible responses" from industry suppliers including air traffic control and airport ground handling.

"We cannot afford to see increases being imposed on airlines who are in an extremely fragile financial position today, having gone through the depth of the crisis in 2020," he said, adding it was "disappointing" to see some governments approve higher charges during tough times.

Iata is "pushing back" against other planned fee increases elsewhere, Kamil Al-Awadhi, Iata's regional vice president for Africa and Middle East, said at the briefing.


Quarantine-free travel from Dubai


"This is happening when airlines are gasping for air and it's irresponsible action that needs to be carefully thought out," he said.

In April, Iata hit out against "monopolistic" pricing by suppliers in other parts of the world, including London's Heathrow airport.

The global airlines body also criticised the "significant mark-ups" that providers charge passengers on PCR tests, making the cost of travel prohibitive for large families, in particular.

In some African countries, a PCR test can cost as much as $400, Mr Al Awadhi said.