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IATA Travel Pass App | What is it, how does it work and other key questions answered

Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Emirates, Etihad and other airlines have signed up to trial the app.

April 08, 2021 / 02:18 PM IST
The pass, which acts as a digital certificate, allows countries to access incoming passengers' COVID-19 test report and vaccination state among other details. (Representative Image: Reuters)

The pass, which acts as a digital certificate, allows countries to access incoming passengers' COVID-19 test report and vaccination state among other details. (Representative Image: Reuters)

International travel may now become easier with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) travel pass initiative. The pass, which acts as a digital certificate, allows countries to access incoming passengers' COVID-19 test report and vaccination state among other details.

Moreover, Singapore has already tested the travel pass app and it will be made available to flyers from May 1, 2021.

"Passengers will be able to share their pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test results (via IATA travel pass) with their airline during check-in and on-arrival at the immigration checkpoints at Changi Airport," Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and IATA announced on April 5.

Follow our LIVE Updates on the coronavirus pandemic here

So, what us the IATA travel pass? Here is all you need to know about it:

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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What is the IATA Travel Pass?

The IATA Travel Pass application enables travellers to store health information, including whether they have taken COVID-19 tests or vaccines. The certificates can be viewed by airport authorities via QR code scans.

Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Emirates, Etihad and other airlines have already signed up to conduct trials of the app.

How does the travel pass work?

IATA Travel Pass has four open and interoperable modules.

Global registry of health requirements: This enables passengers to find accurate information on travel, testing and eventually vaccine requirements for their journey.

Global registry of testing/vaccination centres: Enables passengers to find testing centres and labs at their departure location which meet the standards for testing and vaccination requirements of their destination.

Lab App: Enables authorised labs and test centres to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers.

Contactless Travel App: Enables passengers to create a ‘digital passport’; receive test and vaccination certificates and verify that they are sufficient for their itinerary; share testing or vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities to facilitate travel.

This app can also be used by travellers to manage travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout their journey.

What if I don't want to use the app?

IATA has said that there will be paper-based alternatives for people who do not have mobile phones. An industry working group is also working on how to make the process seamless and efficient for families travelling together.

Check here for the latest updates on all COVID-19 vaccines

Is it free?

Yes. IATA Travel Pass will be free for passengers to download and use.

What about privacy?

The IATA Travel Pass does not store any data centrally. It simply links entities that need verification (airlines and governments) with the test or vaccination data when travellers permit. No verification will go to an airline or a government without the authorisation of the traveller.

Which airlines accept IATA's Travel Pass?

So far over 20 airlines have signed up to trial IATA Travel Pass. Singapore Airlines was the first airline to launch a full pilot on March 15 on the Singapore-London route, followed by Qatar Airways on March 18.

Other airlines include Copa Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Air Serbia, Korean Air, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic among others.

When will IATA launch Travel Pass?

The global iOS launch is slated for mid-April and the android launch for end of April.

Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak
Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 8, 2021 02:18 pm

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