Airlink, the privately-owned Southern African airline, will become the first carrier in Southern Africa to trial the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass, a secure digital smartphone app for passengers to provide accurate information on their COVID-19 health status and access the entry requirements of any countries they intend visiting.

The trial will be carried out on Airlink’s flights between South Africa and Namibia during November 2021. Airlink operates flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town to both Windhoek and Walvis Bay.

The IATA Travel Pass is being developed to support the re-opening of borders without quarantine and safely restart international aviation and tourism. It is more secure and efficient than current paper processes used to manage health requirements.

In the Airlink trials, the IATA Travel Pass will confirm pre-departure, that passengers meet the COVID-19 test requirements for travel with Airlink on flights between South Africa and Namibia.

“Airlink is proud to be collaborating with IATA in this crucial initiative. The adoption of secure, digital health solutions such as IATA Travel Pass for verifying COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates as well as pertinent entry requirements is urgently required to eliminate the uncertainty that currently deters international air travel and by extension, business, trade, tourism and the creation of desperately-needed jobs throughout Southern Africa,” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

“Our collaboration with Airlink and the South African and Namibian authorities demonstrates a shared commitment to provide a digital solution for passengers to manage their health requirements for travel. This will help promote the safe restoration of international air travel within Southern Africa and between the region and its markets in other parts of Africa and around the world. Through IATA Travel Pass trials we aim to demonstrate how digital solutions can effectively manage both COVID-19 vaccine and test certificates and set an example for other governments in the region to follow,” said Nick Careen, IATA, Senior Vice President Operations, Safety and Security.