Emirates world's first airline to bring in IATA's digital health pass for passengers worldwide

Dubai-based carrier Emirates has become the world's first airline to implement a digital health pass for all passengers, following a successful trial that began in April.

The airline will use the International Air Transport Association's "IATA Travel Pass" across its entire network after it slowly expanded its use to 12 routes in June.

The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app designed to help travellers manage government requirements for COVID-19 testing and vaccination. The app holds encrypted data including verified COVID-19 test or vaccination results on a traveller's mobile device. Travellers can then share the information with airlines to prove they have been vaccinated or undergone a recent COVID-19 test.

Along with confirming that passengers are OK to fly, the app will also feature up-to-date information on countries' entry requirements. There is also a plan to include a registry of testing and vaccination centres.

Several other airlines around the world have been trialling the pass, including Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

Qantas confirmed in July that it would also use the IATA Travel Pass for Qantas and Jetstar international flights. Qantas currently plans to resume some international flights from December.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates' chief operating officer said the pass would allow the airline to deliver smooth journeys and contactless experiences for passengers.

It would enable ground staff to handle document checks efficiently and in compliance with regulatory requirements, he said.

Emirates has not mandated that passengers be vaccinated in order to fly with them, but many countries now require international arrivals to be vaccinated in order to enter. The US announced this would become a requirement from November. It is already a requirement for visitors to Canada.

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Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has said passengers on his airline would need to be vaccinated in order to board international flights.

An international survey by Inmarsat, a mobile satellite communications company, found confidence in air travel is rising, with 60 per cent of those surveyed saying they would feel happy to fly again by the end of the year.

Passengers were more concerned about hotel quarantine than catching the virus through air travel, while 84 per cent endorsed the idea of vaccine passports. However, Australians were the least supportive of vaccine passports, with only 51 per cent, with many citing privacy concerns.

Despite currently being unable to travel internationally, Australians were among the most confident, with 20 per cent saying they felt confident about flying today (as opposed to year's-end), behind only Greeks at 29 per cent.

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