With the latest news about COVID-19 vaccines to be available soon, the airline industry has started putting plans into motion to allow passengers to easily show that they have been vaccinated.
The reason for this push is because being vaccinated is a status that countries are expected to soon require before travelers are allowed to enter. Meanwhile, the few that would still allow untested travelers to enter would be increasingly likely to require extensive quarantine periods to be adhered to.
To meet this expected demand, the International Air Transport Association has been working towards the development of a mobile app, the IATA Travel Pass.
This COVID-19 passport, so to speak, will simplify this process. It will contain information about a passenger’s test or vaccination results and be connected to an electronic copy of the traveler’s passport. It will also provide passengers with details about what Covid-related requirements they may need to meet to board a flight and where testing centers that would allow them to do so are located.
This program is expected to receive initial testing in late 2020 before access is provided to Apple devices in early 2021 and their Android counterparts in April.
To protect the privacy of the information, blockchain technology will be used, and data will not be stored. As far as its funding goes, no travelers or governments will need to pay anything to use the Travel Pass. Airlines will pay its costs, which will be calculated on a per-passenger basis.
Nations are looking forward to this as bringing safe travelers across their borders will help boost their financial states, and needing those visitors to be quarantined both hurts those visitors’ ability to initially contribute to their economies and drastically reduces their interest in even going to those countries.
Regardless of the entrance requirements set forth, airlines will most likely require vaccinated passengers anyway. Qantas has already confirmed this, and Alan Joyce, that airline’s chief executive officer, added that, following discussions with officials at other airlines, he is expecting this to be a “common theme across the board.”
However, the Travel Pass is not the only of its kind. The Common Project Foundation and World Economic Forum teamed up for the CommonPass, which has been tested on New York-London flights while International SOS has created the AOKpass, which is currently in use on flights between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.