The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is considering launching 'Covid passport' in order to revive international travel. The IATA has proposed systematic testing of international travellers which would permit the lifting of border restrictions and provide an alternative to current quarantine rules.
The global airline lobby is working on mobile app, which will act as a digital passport. The app will enclose COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates to provide a smooth travelling experience for airline passengers. Additionally, the app will be linked to an electronic copy of the traveller's passport to prove their identity, according to a report in Bloomberg.
IATA's announcement comes after three coronavirus vaccine candidates Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca reported efficacy rates of 90 per cent or more.
The app will be based on the existing IATA Timatic system used to verify documents. The Timatic system is used to ensure that customers are compliant with border control rules and regulations. Timatic delivers personalised information based on the passenger's destination, transit points, nationality, travel document, residence country, etc. According to IATA, the mobile app will work on block-chain technology and won't store data.
The IATA said the app will first be launched on Apple Inc devices in the first quarter of 2021 and on Android phones by April. IATA will conduct the test programmed with British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG SA) in which the air travellers will be able to share their data with border authorities or present a QR code for scanning.
IATA has asked governments to ensure that aviation staff and international travellers are prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination once safe and effective treatments become available and health care workers and vulnerable groups protected.
Yesterday, in the IATA annual general meeting 2020 (AGM 2020) the global airline lobby revised outlook for the industry in 2020 and 2021. IATA has predicted a net loss of $118.5 billion for 2020 for the airline industry. A net loss of $38.7 billion is expected in 2021 (deeper than the $15.8 billion forecasts in June).
International air travel continues to be down 90 per cent on 2019 levels. As per the current estimates, as many as 46 million jobs supported by air travel could be lost this year, and that the economic activity sustained by aviation will be reduced by the $1.8 trillion, IATA claimed in the AGM.
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