Mongolian Airlines has operated its first 100% health passport-verified flight. The long-haul charter flight from Johannesburg to Ulaanbaatar required all passengers to test negative and upload their results within 24 hours. Using the AOKpass, all passengers had their results verified before landing in Mongolia.
Check and recheck
According to Business Wire, Mongolian Airlines has flown its first-ever 100% health-passport verified flight this week. This was not a commercial service but a charter flight for workers of Australian-English mining company Rio Tinto. The aircraft made a mammoth journey from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, before carrying on to the largest gold and copper deposits currently in the Oyu Tolgoi site.
Mongolian Airlines made the 17,000km journey using one of its Boeing 737-800s. This required multiple stops, including in Africa, the Middle East, and finally Central Asia. Mongolian also operates one 767-300ER, which is currently flying cargo missions, according to RadarBox.com.
Since Mongolia requires a negative COVID test to enter the country, and so does the mining site, the company and airline teamed up AOKpass. AOKpass is similar to upcoming digital passports like VeriFLY, IATA Travel Pass, and CommonPass.
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To meet the requirements of work and travel, all passengers took a COVID test nine days before the flight and another one 24 hours before. Once both tests came back negative, travelers got an AOKpass QR code, which was scanned at the airport and gate to certify the meeting of entry requirements.
Notably, AOKpass is integrated with corporate health and security firm International SOS, allowing employers to carry out extra verifications too. This streamlines the travel, health, and work requirements through a single app, ideal for employers.
In a statement, AOKPass CEO Darren Toh said,
“This is a great step in the evolution of getting back to travel and back to work safely in a sustainable way. It is another milestone in the operational advancement of AOKpass. Being able to provide organisations and their employees with an easy and secure end-to-end process is going to be a key element in getting the global workforce and economy back to business.”
Health passports are only becoming more prevalent as international travel slowly reopens. The last year has been confusing for passengers struggling to fill up multiple forms, taking COVID tests, and proving vaccinations. However, health passports hope to make this process just a QR code away. This means completing all formalities at home and then arriving at the airport.
In recent days, more countries and airlines have grown their acceptance of digital passports. Saudi Arabia and Singapore are the few countries using the IATA Travel Pass for all arrivals into the country. After facing hours of lines at immigration in major hubs, a digital solution is desperately required.
The coming months will see digital passports become commonplace for airlines and later governments. With testing and vaccine proof just a scan away, expect quicker processing and more reliable results.
What do you think about digital health passports? Will they become prevalent soon? Let us know in the comments!