Passengers on the airline’s Doha to Istanbul route will become the first group to experience the ‘Digital Passport’ app, which aims to play an important role in the airline’s vision to provide a more contactless, secure and seamless travel experience for its passengers.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said: “We have confidence in the credibility of the IATA Travel Pass as the industry’s most reliable and innovative solution given its strong data privacy compliance, long-standing entry rules engine and ability to provide an end-to-end solution.”
Laying the foundation for government regulations
“It will also assist in laying the foundation for governments across the world to come together in the development of standardised regulations to reduce the current patchwork of red tape across the international travel industry,” Al Baker added. “In partnership with the World Health Organization, IATA is also engaged in helping to define a standardised vaccine certificate that will be necessary for the opening of borders and scalable increase of global travel.”
IATA Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, added: “Qatar Airways’ full deployment of IATA Travel Pass is a significant milestone in restarting global connectivity. Governments are requiring testing or vaccination certifications to enable travel and the IATA travel app helps travellers to securely and conveniently manage and provide their credentials.”
Passenger traffic fell significantly in January 2021
IATA has announced that passenger traffic fell in January 2021, both compared to pre-Covid levels (January 2019) and compared to the immediate month prior (December 2020). Total demand in January 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres) was down 72 per cent compared to January 2019. That was worse than the 69.7-per-cent year-over-year decline recorded in December 2020.
Total domestic demand was down 47.4 per cent versus pre-crisis (January 2019) levels. In December, it was down 42.9 per cent on the previous year. This weakening is largely driven by stricter domestic travel controls in China over the Lunar New Year holiday period.
2021 starting off worse than 2020 ended
International passenger demand in January was 85.6 per cent below January 2019, a further drop compared to the 85.3 per cent year-to-year decline recorded in December, continued IATA.
“2021 is starting off worse than 2020 ended and that is saying a lot,” said de Juniac. “Even as vaccination programmes gather pace, new Covid variants are leading governments to increase travel restrictions. The uncertainty around how long these restrictions will last also has an impact on future travel. Forward bookings in February this year for the Northern Hemisphere summer travel season were 78 per cent below levels in February 2019.”