After announcing a partnership with International Air Transport Association (IATA) back in March, Ethiopia’s national flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines has become the first airline in Africa to conduct trial of the IATA travel pass initiative.
The pass, a digital travel mobile application used to enhance efficiency in testing or vaccine verifications, will assist in verifying the authenticity of test information presented by travellers. Not only will this ensure the safety of the travellers but it will also comply with the different entry requirements of different countries.
Apart from receiving test and vaccination certificates and verifying that they are sufficient for their route, the IATA travel pass will help create a digital passport that will also share this information with other airlines and authorities thus helping avoid fraudulent documentation and making air travel more convenient.
According to Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines, digital technology is vital to solve many of the problems that arise from the pandemic.
“We are glad that we are offering new digital opportunities to our passengers so as to fully and safely restart air travel. Our customers will enjoy efficient, contactless and safer travel experience with their travel pass digital passport… The new initiative will increase travellers’ confidence in travel, encourages governments to reopen their borders and expedites industry restart,’’ he said.
The trial will be conducted on flights out of London and Toronto to Addis Ababa as well as out of Addis Ababa to Washington DC, effective 25 April 2021. The airline has concentrated on combating the spread of the virus by going digital in its operations so as to avoid physical contact. Now, by embarking on the new initiative, it allows its passengers to enjoy a safe flight experience.
As a result, Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security stated that the Ethiopian Airlines is once again showing its leadership position in Africa by becoming the first carrier to implement a live trial of IATA Travel Pass.
“The trial will help build confidence among governments and travelers that digital health apps can safely, securely and conveniently help restart aviation. The app gives travelers a one-stop-shop to help them comply with the new rules for travel. And for governments complete assurance in the identity of the passenger and the authenticity of the travel credentials being presented. We urge Governments in Africa to accelerate the acceptance of digital health credentials for travel across the continent,” he said.