Dubai: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday urged governments to come up with a global framework for COVID-19 testing to enable smooth travel.
“We recently saw the suspension of services between Denmark and the UAE because of concerns over UAE’s testing regime,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA. “This shows how essential it is to have a framework that enables mutual trust.”
A key element of that is standardizing test certificates, he added.
“These last weeks have seen governments impose even more severe travel restriction in the face of new COVID variants, halting what little recovery in air travel had been occurring,” said de Juniac.
The US is the latest to announce tougher travel restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 virus. President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing federal agencies to require international air travelers to quarantine on arrival in the US.
The IATA chief added that the industry body supported the immediate exemption of vaccinated individuals from travel restrictions “IATA supports moves by governments, including Poland Latvia, Lebanon, and the Seychelles to implement exemption”
Travel Pass progresses
Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways have become some of the first carriers to partner with IATA to trial the Travel Pass. It is a platform that will allow passengers to create a ‘digital passport’ to verify their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of the destination. They will also be able to share the test and vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel.
“We are now planning additional pilots with more functionality in the month of February with British Airways and Singapore Airlines,” said Nick Careen, SVP, Airport Passenger Cargo and Security at IATA.
“And then subsequent to that, and the results of those pilots, we will be onboarding additional pilots and tests with the most recently announced to Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad and more to come,” said Careen.