Saudi Arabia will accept the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass for verification of COVID – 19 test results for departing and arriving passengers from Sept.30. Eventually it will also be accepted as confirmation of vaccination status.
Travelers to and from Saudi Arabia will have the choice of using the IATA app or Tawakkalna, the Kingdom’s own national health app developed by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority.
The IATA announcement comes as the SDAIA and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation signed an agreement to cooperate on measures to verify the health status of travelers and improve travel procedures in line with the best international practices.
To this end, GACA will support the health ministry – approved Tawakkalna app, and enhance its collaboration with IATA, as part of efforts to develop integrated digital solutions in line with the Kingdom’s work in the field of digital transformation. The agreement also aims to boost air travel to and from the country, and promote the rapid recovery of the industry from the effects of the pandemic.
SDAIA President Abdullah Al – Ghamdi said that the Kingdom is a world leader in terms of harnessing technology to address the effects of the pandemic.
He added that the cooperation agreement will contribute to this by making it easier to verify the health status of travelers and automating some of the procedures for travel to and from the Kingdom.
Abdul Aziz Al – Duailes, the president of GAGA, said that the authority ‘is committed to supporting all stakeholders to ease and facilitate air travel in an efficient and effective way, by adopting best international practices while taking full consideration of’ International Civil Aviation Organization guidance.
‘We are committed to driving the adoption of digital health certificates and restoring international air travel’, he said, adding that GACA and the developers of Tawakkalna are working with IATA to build a robust framework ‘to help facilitate the journey of citizens, visitors and guests of Saudi Arabia’.
He said that the agreement with SDAIA is part of an effort to organize work, responsibilities and services, develop a framework for areas of cooperation, utilize database and digital technologies, and improve the quality of life for users of the organizations’ platforms and initiatives.
IATA welcomed the decision by the GACA that Saudi Arabia will be one of the first countries to accept the Travel Pass. The association said it has been working with Saudi authorities to ensure international travel resumes conveniently and safely, and national airline Saudia is a trial partner in the development of the pass.
The Travel Pass will simplify and enhance efforts to ensure compliance with health requirements among travelers arriving in the Kingdom, IATA said, and contribute to the safe recovery of the travel and tourism industry, which is an important contributor to the Saudi economy.
The IATA Travel Pass helps passengers manage and verify their health certifications and understand COVID – 19 entry requirements when they travel. More than 80 airlines are participating in trials of the app, which is currently accepted by a number of governments including Singapore and Panama.
Visitors to Saudi Arabia who intend to use the IATA Travel Pass should confirm eligibility with their airline.