Saudi Airlines announced on Monday that it will trial the digital travel and health pass developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It will start on April 19 on the Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah route.
The pass is a mobile app that helps passengers to simply and securely manage their travel information and documents, and comply with any official precautionary requirements to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to flight details and personal information, including passport data, the app can also store verified COVID-19 test results and proof of vaccination. It also includes an option to securely share required information with testing labs or airlines.
According to IATA, users need not worry about the security of their data as it remains confidential and is stored in an encrypted form locally, on the phone. If app is deleted, so is all of the user’s data that is stored in it.
The aim is to help ensure passengers have a safe and seamless travel experience, as part of the efforts to ensure a safe return to international travel and support the recovery of the aviation sector from the effects of the pandemic. During the trial and testing process, IATA will work to develop the app for use across the airline’s network.
“This is great news. I hope it gets approved and applied to all international flights,” Abdullah Al-Muhsin, form Riyadh, told Arab News.
“As a vaccinated individual, this will make it much easier for me to prove my immunity. This step … invites people to get vaccinated and also ensures health requirements are met.”
Turki Khalaf, also from Riyadh, told Arab News: “Anything that would make life easier and reduces costs is good.
“I hope that the next step is our travel pass becomes vital too, and we become free of the anxiety every time we go to the airport, fearing that little note might get lost, stolen or damaged.”
The trial will continue until May 17. Travelers are encouraged to use the app but it is not a requirement. During the trial period passengers must still carry traditional documentation, printed or in digital form, that shows the result of a PCR test by an authorized clinic, as immigration and health authorities might require it. In addition, the travel pass does not replace existing travel or entry requirements in Saudi Arabia, including possession of a valid passport and visa, if applicable.