Singapore Airlines will become the first airline in the world to trial the IATA Travel Pass app from next week.
The digital health verification app has been under development since last year, and several carriers have signed up for trials in the coming weeks and months, including Air Baltic, Malaysia Airlines, Rwandair and Air New Zealand.
Three of the Gulf’s largest airlines are also set to conduct trials, and BA’s parent company IAG has been working with IATA on the development of the scheme.
SIA will conduct a two-week trial of the app between March 15-28, for customers travelling from Singapore to London.
Passengers with phones running on Apple’s IOS operating system will be invited to download the app and create a digital ID comprising their profile photo and passport information.
They can then book their pre-departure Covid-19 test at one of seven participating clinics in Singapore, register with the clinic using their digital ID and flight information, and will then receive their test result and, if negative, confirmation of their ‘OK to Travel’ status.
Participants will need to show their confirmed status within the app to check-in staff at Changi airport.
Current requirements mean they will also have to bring along a physical copy of their health certificate issued by the clinic, but SIA said that “By consolidating the verification of health credentials into a single app, participants can expect a faster and more seamless check-in process”.
All data is stored locally on the mobile phone, rather that in a central database.
The carrier hopes that is successful, the trial “will pave the way for the integration of the entire digital health verification process into the SingaporeAir mobile app from around mid-2021, again using IATA’s Travel Pass framework”.
Commenting on the news Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president airport, passenger, cargo, and security said:
“Our partnership with Singapore Airlines for the first full deployment of the IATA Travel Pass will help get the world flying again. In the immediate term, it is the solution for travellers to safely and securely manage their travel health credentials.
“In the longer term, the digital identity elements of the IATA Travel Pass will place Singapore Airlines passengers at the front of the queue for an even more convenient contactless travel experience.”
For a look at the pros and cons of “vaccine passports”, and the different options being developed, see our recent features: