Singapore Airlines has launched a new digital health verification process, making it easier for travellers to store and share their Covid-19 test certificates and vaccination records. 

Backed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass framework, the Star Alliance carrier’s trial on flights from Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur to Singapore could set the stage for a broader industry roll out.

Like many countries, Singapore currently requires a negative Covid-19 test as an entry requirement.

Under the pilot programme, travellers testing at designated venues in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur will be presented a digital or paper health certificate bearing a QR code. The credentials can then be verified by airport check-in staff and immigration officials in a quick and secure manner, according to SIA.

“Covid-19 tests and vaccinations will be an integral part of air travel for the foreseeable future,” said JoAnn Tan, acting senior vice president for marketing planning, Singapore Airlines.

“We are offering a digital solution that allows the easy and secure verification of this information, and supports the industry’s safe and calibrated recovery from this pandemic.”

If successful, SIA plans to expand the service to other routes and integrate the function into its mobile app by mid-2021.

IATA’s Timatic, which is widely used by airlines to ensure compliance with passport and visa requirements at travellers’ destinations, will power the new service.

The addition of Covid-19 testing and entry requirement information to Timatic is expected to offer assurance to governments, passengers, and travel operators, and facilitate the safe reopening of borders.

“We will demonstrate that people can return to travel with confidence that they are meeting all government Covid-19 entry requirements,” said Nick Careen, senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo, and security, IATA.

“Experience gained through collaboration [with SIA] helps prepare for the eventual global deployment of the IATA Travel Pass.”

This month, British Airways and KLM were barred from flying to Hong Kong due to positive cases detected upon arrival and failure to verify passengers’ health credentials. Carriers have faced similar challenges operating to locations such as China.