Vietnam Airlines on Thursday allowed 18 passengers to use the IATA Travel Pass to board a flight from Hanoi to London, marking the first time the pass has been used by travelers leaving Vietnam en route to Europe.
The IATA Travel Pass is a digital health record which allows medical officers to access the COVID-19 test result and vaccination statuses of travelers from other countries.
The flight, coded VN55, is the second Vietnam Airlines departure to use the IATA Travel Pass, the first being a Tokyo-bound flight that left Hanoi on August 12.
Both trial runs showed positive results, potentially paving the way for a near relaunch of regular international flight routes, many of which have been halted since March 2020 due to COVID-19.
The IATA Travel Pass is considered a safer and more effective solution than paper-based documentation, particularly given the variety of data many airlines and countries require passengers to present in order to board flights.
What makes the digital pass so appealing is that it allows for contactless travel, biometric recognition, and digital health certificate storage, which passengers can use to prove their health status to governments, airlines, and test clinics.
Select adult passengers will be invited to download the IATA Travel Pass app to their mobile phones, create a digital ID using their photo and passport information, and fill in flight details in order to receive information on entry requirements at the destination.
Before departure, passengers will be required to get tested at eligible clinics based on the IATA registry, then share the test results digitally, and confirm flight status to the airline ahead of their arrival at the airport.
Currently, 30 airlines from around the world are piloting the IATA Travel Pass.
Governments of countries such as Singapore, Panama, and Estonia have also endorsed the pass.
In Vietnam, domestic carriers Bamboo Airways, Vietjet, and Vietnam Airlines are working to incorporate the IATA Travel Pass into their protocols.
Vietnam Airlines will continue to pilot the system on several flights in September, including one that leaves Hanoi for Seoul on September 12 and another bound for Tokyo on September 21, a company associate said.