IATA in discussions with airlines, govts over travel pass

PETALING JAYA: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it has been engaging with airlines and governments in the region over the potential use of its travel pass, which they say is an attempt to kickstart international air travel.

The trade association of the world’s airlines said that there was a need for a global framework and standard to enable international air travel to resume after the Covid-19 pandemic has put it to a halt.

“We understand that countries around the world are at different stages of handling the Covid-19 crisis domestically.

“It is only expected that once countries are comfortable with the downward trajectory of the virus in their home markets will they pay attention to reopening borders, ” said IATA regional director for airports and external relations Vinoop Goel in a global press briefing on Tuesday (Feb 23).

He said they were looking at the pass as a key enabler to get the industry restarted.

The IATA travel pass is a mobile application that helps travellers to store and manage their verified certifications for Covid-19 tests or vaccines.

They said that the travel pass will manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories, and travellers to give governments confidence in a passenger Covid-19 status.

“The priority right now is to make sure the airline industry especially international travel gets back on its feet, ” said Vinoop, adding that many airlines were financially struggling and that the pass wasn’t meant to be a big revenue generator.

A few airlines have already signed up for trials and pilots to use the pass, according to Vinoop.

Among them are Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Copa Airlines.

Vinoop said that while they were talking to governments all over the world about the pass, the governments didn’t play a very active role in it.

“What we want is governments should make sure regulations are not inhibiting the rollout of the travel pass. We want governments’ to support it but they don’t have an active role to get on it per say, ” he said.