Qatar Wants To Launch IATA’s Travel Pass Before Emirates & Etihad

Qatar Airways is looking to become the first carrier in the Middle East to trial the IATA Travel Pass. The digital passport is increasingly becoming a hot topic across the globe as airlines seek to find a way to open up travel. The flag carrier of Qatar is planning to start using the app in March 2021.

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Qatar Airways has been at the forefront when it comes to biosecurity actions amid the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Helpful initiatives

Qatar Airways has shared today that the trial is a crucial factor in the company’s vision to have a more contactless, secure, and smoother journey for its customers. The initial phase will start on the operator’s route from its home of Doha to Istanbul. With this process, passengers will be able to use the app to receive coronavirus test results and validate that they are eligible to travel.

The app will enable travelers to safely share their verified “OK to Travel” status with the airline and other relevant parties even before arriving at the airport. Additionally, the system will provide vital updates regarding health measures and restrictions at the country passengers are traveling to.

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Having information stored digitally can reduce the number of touchpoints when sharing details with airlines and officials. Photo: Qatar Airways

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Full commitment

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker expresses that the app is the most robust safety program in existence for the aviation community amid the global health crisis. Overall, he said that his firm is focused on supporting the market through IATA’s Industry Advisory Panel.

“As an industry leader and the only 5-Star-rated global airline recently announced in the Skytrax COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating, we are committed to safeguarding the safety, health and wellbeing of our passengers, and ensuring an integrated, seamless customer experience at every point of their journey with us,” Akbar Al Baker said in the release.

“The IATA Travel Pass effectively acts as a ‘digital passport’ for travellers and is the latest tool in our fight against the spread of COVID-19, enabling passengers to securely and effortlessly navigate their travel plans, safe in the knowledge that their verified travel credential is based on the latest COVID-19 information, the strictest data privacy regulations and entry rules for the destination they will travel to.”

The executive concluded that the investment in this app should encourage passengers to travel with confidence. He feels that it would make planning easier in the next few months.

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The likes of Emirates are also looking to implement digital travel passes this quarter, but Qatar is looking to pip them at the post. Photo: Getty Images

A new era

This move follows similar announcements made by a handful of other major carriers. Fellow Middle Eastern carriers Etihad and Emirates both recently shared that they will be rolling out the IATA Travel Pass. Moreover, Qatar Airways’ partner American Airlines has introduced a health passport for inbound travel to the United States from all international destinations. The European Commission is also analyzing proposals to introduce vaccine passports. This initiative would allow for smoother travel within the European Union.

So, by the time this year is over, these digital passports will be prevalent across the aviation industry. Hopefully, they will help to provide a safe, secure, and seamless experience for those traveling. Many passengers have been affected by the stringent ongoing restrictions in place. Notably, several people are unable to see loved ones due to outright travel bans and similar measures. Perhaps these travel passes will help to offer a better balance amid these tough conditions.

Altogether, what are your thoughts about Qatar Airways’ trialing the IATA Travel Pass? Do you think this would be a good move by the airline? Let us know what you think of the initiative in the comment section.