Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s flagship airline Saudia has become the latest Middle Eastern airline to start testing the International Air Transport Association (IATA) ‘Travel Pass’, the digital health passport . Saudia will start on the Kuala Lumpur-Jeddah route on April 19.
Customers traveling with Saudia will be able to visit a designated laboratory in Malaysia to complete the PCR test requirements, which can then be uploaded to the IATA Travel app for further use to Saudi Arabia. The Travel Pass is a mobile application that will allow passengers to create digital passports where test and vaccine data can be uploaded and shared securely, to ensure that government health requirements are met at departure and destination points. .
Leading the pack
Qatar Airways is leading the pack in the implementation of the travel pass. Since March 11, passengers planning to travel on the Doha-Istanbul route began to experience it. “We are proud to be at the forefront of experimentation with this platform, being one of the world’s first and the number one airline in the Middle East,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways Group, in a statement.
Etihad goes live
Etihad previously said testing would begin in April on its North American routes. “We were waiting to make sure that the travel pass that we are testing is in fact as effective for the guests as it is for the airline, and like I said, this is the major challenge that all developers face in a number of products, ”said an official at a virtual event last month.
After the test, once the IATA Travel Pass is finalized, it will be deployed on the Saudia network. “This is the first step in making regional and international travel during the pandemic as convenient as possible, giving people the confidence that they are meeting the government’s COVID-19 health requirements,” said Nick Careen, vice – Senior President of IATA for Airports, Passengers, Cargo and Security.
“IATA Travel Pass holds the key to the safe restart of the travel and tourism industry, which contributes significantly to the economy of Saudi Arabia. “