ADDIS ABABA, 24 March 2021 – Ethiopian Airlines has become the second African airliner, after Kenyan Airways, to implement a mobile health passport platform designed to stem the spread of COVID-19 among air passengers.
The pilot, first implemented last month by Kenyan Airways, has been launched in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
Under the arrangement, the Ethiopian carrier joins Kenyan Airways in using the African Union Trusted Traveler Pass which allows passengers to have access to their digital COVID-19 tests.
Such passengers will be able to receive a clearance code either from the carrier’s website or upon arrival at airports.
Passengers who have tested negative for COVID-19 or have been vaccinated against the virus will be able to proceed rapidly through check-in and boarding, while passengers without clearance await the outcome of their tests before boarding.
The Trusted Traveler Pass portal has been developed by the African CDC and the African Union Commission.
It includes information about travel restrictions by country and a database of authorized laboratories providing COVID-19 testing.
The platform “will be pivotal in increasing the number of passengers while making air travel safer,” according to Ethiopian Airlines chief information officer Getinet Tadesse.
The next stage of the project will involve bringing in South African Airways, which dominated the African skies before Kenyan Airways and Ethiopian Airlines – today’s leader – emerged.
Ethiopian led the African air travel market with 13.3 million passengers per year, according to data rounded up in May 2019 by Routesonline.
South African Airways which transported eight million passengers in 2010 when Ethiopian Airlines transported only three million was ranked third in 2019 with 4.6 million passengers, behind the second-placed Kenyan Airways with 4.9 million passengers transported in 2019.