PAL to launch IATA Travel Pass trial, first in Philippines

Philippine Airlines on Wednesday said it will launch Travel Pass mobile app of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that aims to help international passengers manage COVID-era health requirements for a safer and more convenient travel experience.

PAL and IATA will conduct a trial run of the new digital technology on the Philippine flag carrier’s flights from Manila to Los Angeles and Singapore on select dates from May to June 2021.

“We want to make it simple for our customers to travel safely.  The IATA Travel Pass will help them verify that they comply with health rules and COVID test requirements, so they can board our flights with assurance and confidence,” Gilbert F. Santa Maria, PAL president and chief operating officer said.

 Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president Airport, Passenger, Cargo, Security said restarting international aviation safely has been at the forefront of IATA’s Travel Pass initiative. 

“We are proud to partner with Philippines Airlines – the first airline in the Philippines – to trial the app and demonstrate that this technology can securely, conveniently and efficiently help manage passenger travel health credentials,” he added. 

PAL’s trial of the IATA Travel Pass is in line with the Department of Tourism’s efforts to harness digital solutions for a safe reopening of Philippine tourism.  In a statement last April 7, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said:  “Once the country’s adoption of the IATA Travel Pass is put into motion, the DOT hopes to safely reopen our tourist destinations to international visitors and revive the tourism industry as a whole … when the time is right.”

PAL Vice President for IT Services Angelique C. Tinsay said, “We welcome this initiative as a travel tool that will lead to a more convenient travel experience for our customers. That’s what we aspire to give our passengers:  Safe, contactless travel, enabled by technology.” 

The IATA Travel Pass is a global-standard mobile app that validates and authenticates regulations of all countries on passenger health requirements for travel.  The digital health application will enable a passenger to create a digital ID based on standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). 

The app will be available for iOS and Android users. Once downloaded, the IATA Travel Pass app allows travelers to upload their passport for digital biometrics. 

During the trial, PAL passengers will also be able to add their itinerary in the app and review health rules and regulations of their destination, especially on the required COVID-19 testing before their departure. 

The Travel Pass also enables partner and accredited COVID-19 testing centers to upload laboratory test results on the app. One of the flag carrier’s testing partners, Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, will be accredited by IATA during the trial to upload test results on the said app. 

Passengers can then receive verified test results and a confirmation that they meet all health requirements for the destination. Using the Travel Pass will also fast-track the airport check-in process, reduce passenger congestion at the airport, and ensure seamless onward travel. 

PAL joins 27 participating airlines from 25 countries in conducting trial runs for the new Travel Pass technology.   In addition to the selected Los Angeles and Singapore routes, PAL currently operates flights to other cities in the U.S., Canada, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

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