IATA in discussion with Indian airlines for Travel Pass

Global aviation industry body, The International Air Transport Association (IATA), on Tuesday said that it is in discussion with major Indian airlines for the usage of its ‘Travel Pass’, a digital health pass that will manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.

“IATA is in discussion with all major Indian airlines for Travel Pass. We hope they sign up,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific, in a media briefing on Tuesday.

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“Two single largest barriers to travel (currently) are quarantine and lack of knowledge of regulations. Airlines want to get information out to customers. So, this is a logical extension of capabilities we provide to airlines,” he added.

As things stand, many prominent global airlines like Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad and Air New Zealand have already signed up with IATA for accessing Travel Pass.

India’s largest domestic airline IndiGo is currently engaged with IATA for signing up for Travel Pass, a spokesperson of the airline said.

“We would look forward to seamless movement of our customers across borders during and post the pandemic. IndiGo is engaged with IATA to evaluate the IATA Travel Pass Initiative, for seamless movement of its customers across international borders,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson of Vistara, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, said that such partnerships fall in the regulatory domain and is best addressed by the government.

Spokespersons of other major Indian airlines like Air India, SpiceJet, and GoAir didn’t offer comments.

Meanwhile, IATA hopes that its Travel Pass will be a key enabler for restarting international travel. As things stand, International travel remains restricted in several countries, including India, in a bid to curb the spread of the covid-19 pandemic, though certain flights for repatriation and ones under bubble agreements with select countries are allowed to operate. India currently has such an agreement with more than 24 countries.

“We are hoping that the IATA travel pass will give confidence to the government to open up its borders,” added IATA’s Regional Director, Airports and External Relations, Vinoop Goel.

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