International Air Travel Association to Launch COVID-19 Test and Vaccination Tracking App

By McKenzie Carpenter Wednesday, February 24, 2021

International travel has been stunted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The travel restrictions set in place last year were implemented to stop the spread of the virus, and as a result, many people have missed out on business trips, family vacations, study abroad trips, and so much more. To improve airline foot-traffic and resemble some form of normalcy, the International Air Travel Association (IATA) announced that the agency will launch a new app that tracks individual passenger’s COVID-19 test and vaccination status.

App on phone that says, "Covid-19 vaccination tracker."

COVID-19 Status Tracking App

The business association announced it has been developing IATA Travel Pass, a travel app that allows governments and airlines to digitally track individual passenger’s COVID-19 test and vaccination status. The company is hopeful that with this new technology, international travel can resume back to normal without the need for quarantine when arriving in a foreign country.

In addition, the business association has 290 global airline members. Singapore Airlines was the first airline company to begin trials on the free-to-use mobile app in December. Thirty other airlines, including Air New Zealand and Emirates, plan to start trials on the business association’s app through March and April.

CNN wrote the app developed by the company works in four ways: passengers check the global registry for health requirements for a specific country, checking the global registry of testing and vaccination centers, get tested or vaccinated from an authorized lab or test center that posts digital certificates of completion on the business association’s app, and lastly, travelers can use the travel app as a digital passport for other travel documentation.

In a statement to CNBC regarding the app, Nick Careen, the business association’s senior vice president for airport passenger cargo and security, said, “It’s really about digitizing an existing process...This is the way forward, because if we do manual processing, we will come to a grinding halt the minute we begin to see a restart.”

The company plans to launch the Travel Pass app in March 2021.

The Industry and App Competitors

The travel industry is arguably the hardest-hit industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airline travel demand was down nearly 70% in 2020 compared to 2019. Furthermore, in August 2020, the American Hotel & Lodging Association reported 65% of hotels were at or below 50% hotel occupancy. Moreover, the World Travel & Tourism Association reported that the international travel and tourism industry was projected to suffer a $155 billion loss in 2020 and a $116 billion loss for the US alone. The company is hopeful that with vaccine rollouts, demand can reach 50% of the 2019 travel stats by the end of this year.

Travel Pass from the business association is not the only COVID-19 status tracking app. CommonPass and IBM’s Digital Health Pass are two potential competitors for the company as they function similarly to Travel Pass. Each company is currently either developing an app or undergoing a trial phase for airline companies.

About the Author

Headshot of McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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