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Emirates and Etihad Become Launch Customers of IATA Travel Pass

Emirates and Etihad Become Launch Customers of IATA Travel Pass
Joe Cortez

Two of the Middle East Three will be the first airlines to utilize the IATA Travel Pass for international travel. Emirates and Etihad Airways will use the digital health passport to help travelers manage COVID-19 restrictions for international travel, including testing and vaccination information.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) will partner with the two major airlines of the United Arab Emirates to roll out their digital travel pass app. The trade organization announced that Emirates and Etihad Airways will be the launch customers of the IATA Digital Pass, helping flyers manage COVID-19 restrictions as they fly internationally.

IATA Digital Pass Serves as App-Based Passport for Health Requirements

In development since 2020, the IATA Travel Pass is designed to work as a digital health passport for travelers. In one secure place, flyers can store their COVID-19 testing results direct from laboratories, as well as their current vaccination status.

To ensure the app works correctly, the IATA will do a phase one rollout with both Emirates and Etihad. For Emirates, the roll out will begin in April, with the app storing COVID-19 PCR test results for flyers departing Dubai. Etihad’s rollout will begin during the first quarter of 2021, for flyers on select flights leaving Abu Dhabi. If the app is successful, both airlines will work with the IATA to extend it to other flights and destinations.

“Etihad is the only airline requiring a pre-departure negative PCR test result for all passengers worldwide, and again on arrival in Abu Dhabi, giving our guests the added assurance of safety when they travel with us,” Mohammad Al Bulooki, chief operating officer of Etihad, said in a press release. “Being one of the first airlines globally working with IATA as a pioneer partner on the IATA Travel Pass is a big step forward for Etihad’s guests and for the industry.”

“We have worked with IATA on this innovative solution to simplify and digitally transmit the information that is required by countries and governments into our airline systems, in a secure and efficient manner,” Adel Al Redha, chief operating officer of Emirates, said in a separate statement. “We are proud to be one of the first airlines in the world to pilot this initiative, which will provide an enhanced customer experience and conveniently facilitate our customers’ travel needs.”

Through the platform, accredited testing laboratories will be able to send test results and vaccination certificates to flyers straight through the app. In turn, the IATA will manage the global database, ensuring that data flows seamlessly between stakeholders. Passengers on the trial flights will be the first to test the Digital Pass before it is accessible by the public.

Digital Pass One of Two Health Passports In Development

In addition to the IATA Digital Pass, another airline group is also working on their own version of a digital health passport. Lufthansa, JetBlue and United Airlines are partners in the development of CommonPass, one of several projects in the works from the Commons Foundation.

View Comments (11)


  1. edgewood49

    January 19, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Well this should be interesting to see how all this shakes out. Multiple platforms competing then there is the privacy issue.

  2. c502cid

    January 20, 2021 at 7:11 am

    For the one airline who has the balls to not require this, you have my loyalty.

  3. davistev

    January 20, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Makes sense to me.

  4. edgewood49

    January 20, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    c502cid you have a point however our individual rights/privacy are being eroded everyday ( thats not met to be a political statement) its just a fact. Its all in the name of ———— fill in the issue de jour today its Covid 19 who knows what tomorrow will bring us. If you want to go to Hawaii today after you pay for your airfare, then setting aside money for your overpriced hotel etc there is the cost of Covid 19 test currently I believe averaging $139 per person and even then your locked in a tube for say 5 hours then herded around HNL. Not for this family.

  5. dts6b

    January 20, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    I wonder how old c502cid is. I’m old enough to remember needing to prove that I had been vaccinated for about 5 or 6 diseases in order to travel to Asia in 1960. I needed to prove that I had received certain vaccinations to travel to Africa and Latin America into the 1980s. Of course, back in those days, the proof was a yellow card with the dates of each vaccination along with a stamp next to it show who had given the shot. Needless to say, it would not have been difficult to forge something like that. Maybe c503cid doesn’t realize that the reason that the overwhelming majority of international flights for that last 30 years have not required immunization records is due to the great success of the vaccination requirements. The current times require a renewed effort to stop/slow the spread of this new virus. And, in our current times, we need a secure system with effective safeguards. I never heard anyone complain of a “privacy violation” back in the day.

  6. polinka

    January 21, 2021 at 8:12 am

    c502cid I share that sentiment; however, I think it’s a lost cause. SWA maybe?? but no intl carriers. At least the “passport” is on your phone for now and not embedded under the skin like with dogs.

  7. PDog

    January 21, 2021 at 8:42 am

    The rights people are willing to give up out of fear is mind boggling.

  8. jollyannie

    January 21, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Anyone who steps into the public space is on camera…….it is a fact of life……so if you don’t want to be recorded don’t leave your house………

    While some may not like this invasion of privacy I believe most customers will find it reassuring……..

    Not using our iPhones to do contact tracing in the US has had disastrous results……..government ultimately steps into our lives when a significant portion of the population is unrestrained……….our daily case loads and death totals show just how unrestrained we have been………

  9. AsiaTravel2019

    January 22, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    This is simple: give me a safe, effective vaccine and I will get back in the sky!

  10. timesnaps

    January 27, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    Nothing is a lost cause…. If it wasnt for silly sheeple attitude. Its time to stand up for the freedoms we have earned over the last 100 years or so. Be human, be respectful to others, show compassion and dont follow the fear-mongering. (btw, most European Covid vaccinations have so far been recorded on the same yellow WHO Vaccination & Certification Record that have been done in the past. )

  11. jackmaninov

    January 31, 2021 at 7:29 am

    Four airlines I’ll never fly with again. Thanks, and keep publicizing yourselves!

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