In collaboration with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, MedAire, an International SOS company, has launched an advanced operational pilot for the digitalisation of pre-departure COVID-19 testing using the ICC AOKpass mobile app. Following the success of an initial pilot for Etihad launched in September 2020 as a world’s first for the air travel industry, use of ICC AOKpass is now offered to Etihad passengers flying from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Abu Dhabi.
Using the ICC AOKpass app, travellers are able to verify their COVID-19 test results with the airline without breaching the privacy of their personal health data. Under current regulations, travellers arriving in Abu Dhabi are required to obtain a negative PCR test prior to departure, ensuring that 100% of passengers on board are COVID-19 free. They are also tested on arrival in Abu Dhabi, as part of the emirate’s ongoing protection against the pandemic. Under the pilot, Etihad guests are able to securely store their PCR test results digitally on their mobile devices for later verification at the airport. The ICC AOKpass system completes this verification using a global, incorruptible blockchain-based network – ensuring all test results are genuine, valid, and in line with government regulations.
Bill Dolny, CEO of MedAire, said, “Providing travellers with a fast and secure way to store and authenticate their test results is a key element in the return to travel, and in regaining the trust of passengers. MedAire, as world’s leading provider of health and safety solutions for the aviation industry, has actively supported airports and airlines around the world in restarting travel safely and securely, relying on our vast provider network since the start of the COVID outbreak. Supporting Etihad Airways in pioneering this pilot is a major milestone to further the resumption of international traffic in a safe and COVID-19 free environment.”
This deployment of a working implementation of ICC AOKpass by MedAire is one of several live pilots already operating on the ground globally. The ICC AOKpass solution is actively expanding deployment as part of a coordinated global response to the pandemic, utilising secure technological solutions to support a safer and more efficient return to cross-border travel.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Operating Officer, said: “As part of Etihad’s Wellness initiative, the health and safety of the airline’s guests is the top priority. By collaborating with MedAire, this pilot will explore enhanced operational efficiencies, improved customer experience and greater compliance with regulations that restrict the spread of COVID-19 to keep the world healthy. Additionally, it will provide greater assurance that everyone on board an Etihad aircraft has verifiably tested negative for COVID-19.”
“Since the onset of the pandemic, Etihad believes that an enduring legacy of COVID-19 will be the need for passengers to present their medical status at the time of travel. The development of health passes are new to the airline industry, and Etihad has been working with a number of companies on digital applications for this purpose, to ensure that our guests have the greatest flexibility and the highest standards of wellness when they travel.”
Dr Chester Drum MD PhD, Co-founder of ICC AOKpass, said: “The world needs a standardised technical infrastructure to protect health information while allowing passengers to demonstrate fitness to travel. With the global support of the ICC, International SOS and SGS – we launched world’s first live deployment of a COVID-19 health status verification solution for international air travel for Etihad. With significant progress since then, including the first use of a digital COVID-19 health record to cross an immigration checkpoint for travel from Japan to Singapore, our operational experience with real-world airline customers is unparalleled. Together with innovative partners such as Etihad, our operational deployments are now guiding a global product to restart cross-border travel.”
Etihad Airlines is also trialing IATA’s Blockchain enabled TravelPass.