The International Air Travel Association (IATA) is ready to roll out its Travel Pass in the coming weeks after a successful trial with Singapore Airlines.
We first reported on the development of the Travel Pass in November after IATA announced that the mobile app was in the final stages of development. Initially there were plans to trial the app with the IAG Group (owner of British Airways) but Singapore stepped in after the group confirmed that they would be partnering with rival solution VeriFLY.
In December we published more details of the app and the 3 planned critical design elements:
- Putting travellers in control of their personal information for top-level data security and data privacy. The Travel Pass will store encrypted data, including verified test or vaccination results, on the personal mobile device of the traveller, who will have full control over what information is shared with airlines and authorities. No data will be stored away from the mobile phone ensuring that travllers have complete control over data and that all data protection laws, including General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) are adhered to.
- Global standards recognised by governments to ensure verified identity and test/vaccine information.
– Verified identity: A government-issued ePassport is used to verify the identity of the user which serves to create a digital representation of the user’s passport to allow information to be sent electronically in a secured way that is linked to their verified identity.
– Verified test results or vaccine information: Until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to the general public, the priority is on COVID-19 testing. Laboratories have well-established safety standards for managing and verifying test results to individuals. IATA is partnering with selected and established laboratories to securely link their test results with the verified identity of the IATA Travel Pass holder.
- Convenience and bio-safety will be enhanced with integration into contactless travel processes. Recommendations for bio-safety include the use of contactless travel processes to reduce the risk of virus transmission when documents need to be exchanged in the travel process.
An additional element has since been added to the app which includes a global registry of health requirements, which enables passengers to find accurate information on travel, testing and eventually vaccine requirements for their journey.
“People want to travel. However, the long-term solution to reopening borders to and reducing quarantine requirements will be a combination of testing and vaccination”
“We are confident that governments and airlines will adopt a mechanism to ensure verification of Covid-19-related health. IATA is aiming to create a global standard, and we hope that others will use the same framework (so that there won’t be too many differing digital health verifications across countries).”Conrad Clifford, IATA Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific
The app has been designed to integrate with airlines own applications resulting in a more convenient and seamless customer experience.
In January Emirates and Etihad both confirmed that they were planning on trialling the app, Qatar soon followed and Air New Zealand have recently expressed their interest.
One of the key concerns of any system is that data is secure and that hackers will not be able to access personal data, including passport information. IATA have confirmed that all data is securely held on the mobile device itself and not on central servers or in the cloud. It is also important that countries are confident that the data is accurate and not able to created fraudulently.
“The key issue is one of confidence.”
“Passengers need to be confident that the testing they have taken is accurate and will allow them to enter the country.”
“Then governments need to have the confidence that the tests that the passengers claim to have is one which is accurate and meets their own conditions.”Vinoop Goel, IATA Regional Director of Airports and External Relations
It is hoped that up to 20 airlines will be trialling the app in the coming months with positive talks taking place with many others.
The app is not aimed directly at consumers. The idea is that the app will form part of the airlines own procedures and that they would bear any cost of implementation as part of their efforts to make international travel more accessible again.
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