In the News from Panama

Copa Airlines Testing New Travel App

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is working with Copa Airlines to test a new app that could ease travel obstacles during the pandemic.

Panama will be the first country to use the IATA Travel Pass, “which will be essential to re-establishing global connectivity while managing the risks of COVID-19,” the association said. Copa will be the first airline in the Americas to use the app.

The app is designed to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with government requirements for traveling during the pandemic. Copa passengers will be able to create a “digital passport” that will allow them to match their travel itineraries with the COVID-19 requirements of their destination and confirm they are in compliance.

Copa’s initial trial phase is expected to begin in March on select flights from Panama City, IATA announced in a press release.

“An international standard solution for digital health passports such as IATA Travel Pass holds the key to the safe restart of the travel and tourism industry, which is an important contributor to Panama’s and Latin America’s economy,” Dan Gunn, Copa’s senior vice president for operations, said in the release.

In addition to checking travel requirements, the IATA Travel Pass will include a directory of testing and vaccination centers, “making it more convenient for passengers to find testing centers and labs at their departure location which meet the standards for testing and vaccination requirements of their destination,” IATA notes. The app will also enable authorized labs and test centers to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers.

“This will manage and allow the secure flow of necessary information amongst all stakeholders and to provide a seamless passenger experience,” IATA says.

The Copa trial will help develop data that will help fine-tune the international program, IATA says. The confidence that travelers are following all the necessary protocols will help decrease pressure on airports, increase consumer confidence and speed the recovery of the market, airline officials say.