After several months of rigid testing with Singapore Airlines, IATA is on the brink of rolling out its Travel Pass, projecting that it will go live in the next few weeks.
This comes as countries that are looking to open their borders will have to manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among other governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers, and avoid the risk of fraudulent paper certs.
“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,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s regional vice president, Asia Pacific.
The IATA Travel Pass incorporates four open sourced and interoperable modules which can be combined for an end-to-end solution.
The first module covers a global registry of health requirements, which enables passengers to find accurate information on travel, testing and eventually vaccine requirements for their journey.
The second covers a global registry of testing / vaccination centres, enabling passengers to find testing centres and labs at their departure location which meet the standards for testing and vaccination requirements of their destination.
The third module takes in the Lab App, which enables authorised labs and test centres to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers.
Lastly, the Contactless Travel App enables passengers to create a digital passport; receive test and vaccination certificates that meet the regulations for their itinerary; and share testing or vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities to facilitate travel.
Aside from merely providing verification, the IATA Travel Pass can also be used to manage travel documentation digitally throughout a passenger’s journey, which may enable biometrics and contactless travel in the long-term, after the pandemic is over.
So far, IATA’s regional director, airports and external relations, Vinoop Goel, has confirmed that both airlines and governments globally have been receptive to the app.
It also helps that the app can be integrated with the airline’s own app, making it more convenient and seamless for a passenger. Airlines that are in the process of trialling include Emirates and Qatar, with Air New Zealand set to join the list.
Meanwhile, IATA is also in talks with governments to work on a global framework and standardisation of verification across borders.
Clifford added: “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).”
When asked about data privacy, Goel stated: “IATA does not have a central database holding passenger information, as (an individual’s) information stays on the app. The passenger is in control of their data and can choose who to share it with. Users can also delete their data anytime on the app.”
As for costs, IATA has reiterated their stand to keep costs to a minimum in the implementation of the Travel Pass, as the association understands that airlines are currently facing cashflow issues.