Dubai: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) will stop developing its Travel Pass digital health platform as COVID-19 restrictions are dropped worldwide.
“We continue to support current customers using the app. However, as COVID-19 restrictions are being rapidly lifted, the demand for sophisticated digital health wallets such as IATA Travel Pass is reducing,” a spokesperson for the industry body said.
“As such, we are not planning to develop the product beyond its current capabilities,” the spokesperson added.
The platform, which was first announced by IATA in late 2020, allows passengers to have a digital passport verified with all their pre-travel test or vaccination details to meet the requirements at the end destination. They are also able to share test and vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate smoother processing at airports.
Middle East airlines such as Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways were among the first to trial the platform.
Etihad stops promotion
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which operates its own travel platform, will no longer promote Travel Pass, the airline’s digital head said.
“IATA is stopping the development of Travel Pass - this means we will no longer promote it,” Frank Meyer, Etihad’s Chief Digital Officer, said. “According to IATA, the need is fading at the moment.”
“It never really caught momentum amongst airlines or customers,” Meyer added.
Meanwhile, the airline plans to continue deploying its ‘Verified To Fly’ travel platform across its global network. The platform, which allows travellers to validate their COVID-19 travel documents before arriving at the airport, is currently available for a vast majority of Etihad flights.
Emirates airline, which had rolled out Travel Pass across more than 120 destinations, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Travel is back
Air travel posted a 'strong' rebound in February 2022 compared to January 2022, as Omicron-related impacts moderated outside of Asia, IATA said in its latest update.
The industry body added the war in Ukraine, which began on February 24, did not have a 'major' impact on traffic levels.
Total traffic in February 2022 - measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs - was up 115.9 per cent compared to February 2021. That is an improvement from January 2022, which was up 83.1 per cent compared to January 2021.
“As the long-awaited recovery in air travel accelerates, it is important that our infrastructure providers are prepared for a huge increase in passenger numbers in the coming months,” Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, said.
“We are already seeing reports of unacceptably long lines at some airports owing to the growing number of travelers. And that is even before the surge of Easter holiday travel in many markets next week,” Walsh said.
Countries are easing travel restrictions as the latest ‘Omicron’ variant appears to be mild compared to previous variants of the virus. Most destinations in North America, Europe and the Middle East now only require passengers to show their vaccination certificates on arrival. Many airlines have also launched their own travel platforms to speed up the check-in process and reduce wait times.
Flying to Dubai? These are the requirements:
All passengers travelling to Dubai from all countries (GCC included) must fulfil one of the below requirements:
- Present a valid vaccination certificate(s) reflecting that the passenger is fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the WHO or the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and includes a QR code.
- Present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate issued within 48 hours after the sample was collected and issued by an approved health service provider with a QR code.
- Present a valid medical certificate issued by the relevant authorities that the passenger has recovered from COVID 19 within 1 month from the date of recovery to the date of arrival.
There are no longer any COVID-19 entry restrictions for travel to the United Kingdom. This includes requirements for testing, vaccination, quarantine and entry forms.
Only US citizens, US nationals, US Lawful Permanent Residents, and Immigrants will be accepted for travel to the country if unvaccinated.
A non-US citizen who is a non-immigrant will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling by air to the US from a foreign country. Some categories of noncitizen, nonimmigrants are exempted from this requirement.
All passengers must present a negative COVID-19 RT PCR report for a test taken within 72 hours before travel or a vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated at least 15 days before arrival. The vaccination certificate must be issued from India, UAE or from a specified countries list.
Passengers are subject to random testing on arrival at the airport. Passengers selected for testing will submit the samples and be allowed to leave the airport. Those who test positive will be treated/isolated according to current guidelines.