Three of the world's largest airlines are now trialling a digital 'travel pass' developed by the International Air Transport Association to verify that passengers who have been inoculated against Covid-19 or have tested negative.
Emirates and Etihad Airways are following the lead of Singapore Airlines, which in December adopted IATA's Travel Pass framework, with British Airways' parent IAG due to join the rollout this quarter.
The Travel Pass allows passengers to securely store and present information related to Covid-19 tests as well as their vaccination status; IATA hopes it will become an industry-wide standard for airlines, COVID test centres and government health authorities.
Etihad will offer its Travel Pass on selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter, extending the pass to other destinations if the initial trial is successful.
Emirates will introduce the pass in April to validate Covid-19 tests for flights departing from Dubai, and is touting the pass as a "digital passport (which) will also enable travellers to manage all travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout the travel experience."
Travellers on Singapore Airlines flights from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur who take their COVID-19 tests at selected clinics in either city cities are already able to receive either a digital certificate or paper health certificate bearing a QR code.
Upon checking in for their flight, and at immigration channels in Singapore, the code will be scanned into an app to verify the certificate's authenticity.
If the test runs prove successful, the program could be extended to other cities in the Singapore Airlines network; Singapore Airlines also plans to integrate the entire process into its own iPhone and Android app from around mid-2021.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg