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IATA’s new digital health pass now in final development phase

Posted: 25 November 2020 | | No comments yet

The IATA Travel Pass will support the safe reopening of borders by managing and verifying the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.

IATA Travel Pass

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that it is in the final development phase of the IATA Travel Pass – a digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders.  

Governments are beginning to use testing as a means of limiting the risks of COVID-19 importation when re-opening their borders to travellers without quarantine measures. The IATA Travel Pass will manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers. 

IATA is calling for the systematic COVID-19 testing of all international travellers, and the information flow infrastructure that is needed to enable this must support: 

  • Governments with the means to verify the authenticity of tests and the identity of those presenting the test certificates
  • Airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel 
  • Laboratories with the means to issue digital certificates to passengers that will be recognised by governments
  • Travellers with 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.  

IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “Today borders are double locked. 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 that is matched with traveller identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of the 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.”

The IATA 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 the 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: Create a ‘digital passport’; receive test and vaccination certificates and verify that they are sufficient for their itinerary; and 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. 

IATA and the International Airlines Group (IAG) have been working together in the development of this solution and will undertake a trial to demonstrate that this platform, combined with COVID-19 testing, can reopen international travel and replace quarantine.  

The airline industry demands a cost effective, global and modular solution to safely restart travel. The IATA 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.  

Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President of Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, said: “Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely. In the immediate term, that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. That will eventually develop into a vaccine programme. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both. 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.” 

The first cross-border IATA Travel Pass pilot is scheduled for later in 2020 and the launch slated for quarter one 2021.  

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