BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Royal Brunei (RB) Airlines is trialling the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass app, which allows passengers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and meet other health requirements.

The mobile app will enable passengers to securely verify that they meet COVID-19 health requirements for their journey, RB Airlines said in a statement on Wednesday.

The flag carrier said app users will be able to create a digital health passport that links their COVID-19 test results, proof of vaccination and travel information to their verified identity.

Through the app, IATA seeks to provide governments with the confidence to reopen borders without imposing quarantines on inbound travellers.

The app also aims to pre-validate travellers prior to arrival at airports to make airline and security processes faster.

RB Airlines CEO Captain Hj Khalidkhan Hj Asmakhan said the app and Brunei’s recent vaccination rollout are a “positive step towards safely reopening borders”.

Hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the national carrier has had to suspend the majority of its flights and retrench foreign pilots to stay afloat.

Brunei’s borders have remained shut since March last year, with authorities yet to lift its travel ban on residents.

Only essential travellers can enter and leave the country after seeking permission from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Health Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar previously said Brunei residents will most likely be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they can travel abroad.

IATA’s Senior Vice President of Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security Nick Careen said digital health passes are the key to ensuring safe travel.

“Our priority is restarting aviation, to support the thousands of people that work in the industry and its related industries, such as tourism,” Careen was quoted as saying in the press statement.

As of April 26, around 50 airlines have signed up to trial IATA Travel Pass.