International Airlines Group has announced it is working with The International Air Transport Association (IATA) in the final development phase of the IATA Travel Pass, a digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders.
The health pass intends to “manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.”
The idea is that there should be systematic Covid-19 testing for all international travellers.
For this to be effective there needs to be what IATA describes as an “information flow infrastructure” allowing
- Governments to verify the authenticity of tests and the identity of those presenting the test certificates.
- Airlines to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel.
- Laboratories to issue digital certificates to passengers that will be recognised by governments, and;
- Travellers to access accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested or vaccinated, and the means to securely convey test information to airlines and border authorities.
“Today borders are double locked,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveler identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of IATA Travel Pass. We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation.”
IATA’s Travel Pass incorporates four open sourced and interoperable modules which can be combined for an “end-to-end solution”:
- Global registry of health requirements – enables passengers to find accurate information on travel, testing and eventually vaccine requirements for their journey.
- Global registry of testing / vaccination centres – enables passengers to find testing centres and labs at their departure location which meet the standards for testing and vaccination requirements of their destination.
- Lab App – enables authorised labs and test centres to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers.
- Contactless Travel App – enables passengers to (1) create a ‘digital passport’, (2) receive test and vaccination certificates and verify that they are sufficient for their itinerary, and (3) share testing or vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities to facilitate travel. This app can also be used by travellers to manage travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout their journey, improving travel experience.
International Airlines Group (IAG) will undertake a trial to demonstrate that this platform combined with Covid-19 testing can reopen international travel and replace quarantine.
IATA says that its travel pass is based on industry standards and IATA’s proven experience in managing information flows around complex travel requirements.
- IATA’s Timatic is used by most airlines to manage compliance with passport and visa regulations and will be the base for the global registry and verification of health requirements.
- IATA’s One ID initiative was endorsed by a resolution at its 75th Annual General Meeting in 2019 to securely facilitate travel processes with a single identity token. It is the base for the IATA Contactless Travel App for identity verification that will also manage the test and vaccination certificates.
“Our main priority is to get people traveling again safely. In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic Covid-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both. And we have built it using a modular approach based on open source standards to facilitate interoperability. It can be used in combination with other providers or as a standalone end-to-end solution. The most important thing is that it is responsive to industry’s needs while enabling a competitive market,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.
The first cross-border IATA Travel Pass pilot is scheduled for later this year and the launch slated for quarter one 2021.