Qatar Airways has become the first airline to trial Covid-19 vaccine authentication via the IATA Travel Pass digital passport, as International Air Transport Association (IATA) works with more states to integrate vaccine credentials into the mobile app.
The Qatari government is the first to integrate vaccination credentials onto the IATA Travel Pass app, making it possible for Qatar Airways to trial the new feature.
The trial will be rolled out in phases from July, beginning initially with Qatar Airways' cabin crew returning to Doha travelling from Kuwait, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Sydney.
The announcement follows a decision by the Qatari government requiring all spectators at the 2022 World Cup to have received Covid-19 vaccines.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, had announced in early June that the IATA Travel Pass would be made available to the general public in weeks.
At press time, the app continues to be "by-invite only", available to passengers of the participating airlines and routes, confirmed IATA's head of corporate communications. There is no indication on when the app can be expected to go live.
Reviews of the mobile app reveal issues with activation and verification. Trialling users have reported experiencing difficulties with the app's automated face-to-passport matching for verification purposes, as well as with registration using the airline activation code.
"Trials and pilots are conducted to help identify any issues and improvement opportunities and it was not unexpected that we encountered teething issues. The important thing is to fix the issues that were identified during the trials," Tjoeng told Travel Weekly Asia.
The trial group has quickly grown to around 70 airlines today, with Vietnam's VietJet and Bamboo Airways, and Malaysia's Malindo Air among the latest to join the pilot initiative.
At the same time, some of the participating airlines like Emirates and Malaysia Airlines have also been expanding the trial to more routes in their network.
Source: Meetings and Conventions Asia