RwandAir, the national carrier, is set to become the first African airline to trial the innovative new IATA Travel Pass starting April this year, following a partnership with the global body that facilitates international air travel.
This was announced in a statement issued by the airline on Tuesday February 23.
IATA is the International Air Transport Association and the IATA Travel Pass is a digital platform that will help passengers easily and securely verify that they comply with Covid-19 test or vaccine travel requirements, in turn giving governments the confidence to reopen borders.
According to the statement, the trial will play a critical role in RwandAir’s vision to enable safe and seamless international travel experience for its passengers.
The first phase will be a three-week trial which will be done on the airline’s Kigali-Nairobi route, enabling passengers to receive Covid-19 test results and verify that they are eligible to undertake their journey.
It will also allow passengers to safely and securely share their verified ‘OK to Travel’ status with the airline, before arriving at the airport.
The platform is designed to be incorporated into airlines’ own apps, in order for air passengers to understand what they need before they fly.
“RwandAir is proud to be the first African airline to trial IATA Travel Pass, which could reinforce all the health and safety measures and protocols which we have put in place to restore customer confidence to fly once more,” noted Yvonne Manzi Makolo, RwandAir’s Chief Executive.
She added, “We are incredibly proud to be part of IATA’s Industry Advisory Panel, to ensure we guide the technology development in a way that covers the unique requirements of our passenger profile.”
Makolo pointed out that IATA’s development simplifies and digitally transmits the information required by countries and governments around the world into our airline systems, in a secure and efficient manner.
“Travel Pass will make it easy for our customers to resume flying – and just as easy for RwandAir, and airlines around the world, to accept them. “
Makolo shares similar sentiments with Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO, who cited that IATA Travel Pass will give governments the confidence to re-open their borders knowing that arriving passengers are in full compliance with any testing or vaccination requirements.
“RwandAir is showing its industry leadership in Africa by becoming the first airline on the continent to trial IATA Travel Pass. RwandAir has long used IATA products as the most reliable source of information on entry requirements.”
He highlighted, “The trial app has a range of features, including a registry of testing centres and labs at the departure and/or arrival location which can conduct Covid-19 tests in accordance with the type of test required for the journey.”
According to de Juniac, customers participating in the trial will create a ‘digital passport’ which verifies that their pre-travel Covid-19 test or vaccination meets the requirements of the destination they are travelling to.
“They will also be able to safely and securely share their test and vaccination certificates with participating authorities and airlines around the world to ensure smooth and seamless travel.” He reiterated.
After months of lockdown last year, RwandAir resumed commercial flights in August 2020 across its global network, including most of its African routes, as well as some long-haul destinations such as London Heathrow, Brussels and Dubai.
The airline currently flies to a total of 25 destinations.
All passengers arriving in Rwanda are required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flights.
Upon arrival, they are required to self-quarantine for seven days and take a free of charge PCR test at the end of this period.