This week, both LATAM and Aeromexico announced the launch of trial flights using the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass. LATAM already operates this app on international flights, while Aeromexico is set to introduce it next week. Let’s investigate further.
LATAM launched the IATA Travel Pass trial on June 14, according to a statement from the company. The airline became the fourth to introduce this app in Latin America. First, Iberia was using it on flights from Madrid to Montevideo (Uruguay) and Panama City; then, there was Copa Airlines and Avianca.
Now LATAM is helping travelers organize their trips in this pandemic-related environment on four different routes. These are:
- Lima-Santiago de Chile
- Santiago de Chile-Lima
- Santiago de Chile-Miami.
Paulo Miranda, Vice-president for Clients at LATAM Airlines Group, said,
“This is great news for our passengers that voluntarily want to adhere to the project. Having more automatized and touchless processes is the new reality for everyone, and this pilot test with IATA supports the industry transformation.”
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
Grupo Aeromexico will also launch the IATA Travel Pass on international routes. Starting on June 21, Aeromexico will test this app on routes connecting Mexico City to Chicago (US) and Madrid (Spain).
Both the US and Spain allow entrance to Mexican travelers, albeit they have to comply with some requirements. For instance, people flying to the US from Mexico must present a negative COVID-19 test, regardless if they’ve been vaccinated against the disease.
Meanwhile, people traveling from Mexico to Spain can only do it if they’ve received the complete COVID-19 immunization. Aeromexico aims to ease the travel experience.
“The trial with IATA is part of our digitalization strategy to keep innovating and offering a safe, agile and trustworthy flight experience,” said Andrés Castañeda, executive vice-president at Aeromexico.
Currently, the Mexican airline is offering over 4,400 weekly seats to Chicago and 4,900 to Madrid.
What’s the IATA Travel Pass?
The Travel Pass is a digital health passport IATA uses to help the restart of international travel. Peter Cerdá, IATA’s regional vice-president for the Americas, recently said,
“The IATA Travel Pass allows governments to be confident that passengers have met health requirements, streamlines this process, simplifies the traveler experience, and encourages travel.”
Nevertheless, in the last few months, health passports have faced some roadblocks towards success.
The main obstacle towards the worldwide use of health passports such as IATA’s is government bureaucracy. Despite the airline industry lobbying, the world’s governments continue tackling the COVID-19 pandemic independently, slowing progress.
Even among airlines, there’s no common standard. Some are using IATA’s Travel Pass, while others, like Lufthansa, have the Common Pass. While IATA itself has said that there’s no problem in having many private initiatives launching digital health apps, it can become a new nightmare for travelers.
IATA still has to publish results backing up the Travel Pass trials it has undertaken worldwide. More than 20 airlines are using the trade group’s app worldwide, but there’s a lack of information regarding its effectiveness. How many people are using it? How much time did they save with it? Are governments willing to rely permanently on the Travel Pass?
Have you used the IATA Travel Pass? How would you grade the experience? Let us know in the comments.