Philippine Airlines joins global trial for COVID-19 digital passport
MANILA, Philippines–Philippine Airlines (PAL) is joining a global trial for the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) COVID-19 digital passport—part of a worldwide effort to safely ease travel restrictions.
PAL said in a statement on Wednesday (April 21) that the trial period for the IATA Travel Pass mobile app will run on select dates from May to June 2021 for flights from Manila to Los Angeles and Singapore.
The Travel Pass program aims to create a digital health ID based on standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
IATA said the program hopes to provide governments “the confidence to open borders.”
“We want to make it simple for our customers to travel safely,” PAL president and chief operating officer Gilbert F. Santa Maria said in the statement.
“The IATA Travel Pass will help them verify that they comply with health rules and COVID test requirements, so they can board our flights with assurance and confidence,” he added.
PAL joins 27 participating airlines from 25 countries conducting trial runs for the new COVID-19 passport system.
The rollout also comes as the Philippines faces new restrictions given its recent surge in infections.
The United States government recently warned its citizens against traveling to the Philippines while Hong Kong banned flights from the Philippines, India and Pakistan.
The success of a global COVID-19 passport system could ease some of these worries.
“Restarting international aviation safely has been at the forefront of IATA’s Travel Pass initiative,” said Nick Careen, IATA senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo, security, in the same statement.
“We are proud to partner with Philippines Airlines—the first airline in the Philippines—to trial the app and demonstrate that this technology can securely, conveniently and efficiently help manage passenger travel health credentials,” he added.
The IATA Travel Pass will be available for iOS and Android users.
It will allow travellers to upload their passport for digital biometrics and COVID-19 test results.
PAL passengers using the app can add their itinerary, review health rules and receive verification that they have complied with requirements at their destinations.
Moreover, the Travel Pass will also “fast-track the airport check-in process, reduce passenger congestion at the airport and ensure seamless onward travel.”
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