Etihad Airways exploring digital passports beyond IATA Travel Pass; optimistic about demand in 2021, projects recovery by 2024

    Etihad Airways executive director operations strategy Chris Youlten said the airline is exploring a number of digital passports in addition to the IATA Travel Pass (Khaleej Times, Mar-2021). He noted the technology is “very difficult” to develop, reporting a number of other passes are being assessed but are not ready for application. Mr Youlten confirmed plans to trial IATA‘s product on North American routes in Apr-2021 and said extensive development work is underway to ensure the product’s efficiency for passengers. Etihad Airways senior VP sales and cargo Martin Drew reported recovery of demand on certain routes, most notably to Pakistan and Bangladesh. He said the airline is expecting “strong” VFR and leisure traffic increasing into 2Q2021, with expectations of full recovery by 2024 rather than 2023. Mr Drew also reported “very strong intake” for new services and said the airline is “well positioned” to continue capacity increases across its passenger network.

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