The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed industry standards which will bring the aim of having travellers arrive at airports ready-to-fly one step closer to reality.
The newly released Recommended Practice on Digitalization of Admissibility will enable travelers to digitally prove admissibility to an international destination, avoiding a stop at the check-in desk or boarding gate for document checks, said top industry experts.
Under the One ID initiative airlines are working with IATA to digitalize the passenger experience at airports with contactless biometric-enabled processes.
Programs are already in use in various airports enabling travellers to move through airport processes such as boarding without producing paper documentation because their boarding pass is linked to a biometric identifier.
But in many cases travellers would still have to prove their admissibility at a check-in desk or boarding gate with physical checks of paper documentation (passports, visas and health credentials for example), they stated.
The Digitalization of Admissibility standard will advance the realization of One ID with a mechanism for passengers to digitally obtain all necessary pre-travel authorizations directly from governments before their trip.
By sharing the 'OK to Fly' status with their airline, travellers can avoid all on-airport document checks, they added.
Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security, said: "Passengers want technology to make travel simpler. By enabling passengers to prove their admissibility to their airline before they get to the airport, we are taking a major step forward."
"The recent IATA Global Passenger survey found that 83% of travellers are willing to share immigration information for expedited processing. That is why we are confident this will be a popular option for travelers when it is implemented. And there is good incentive for airlines and governments as well with improved data quality, streamlined resourcing requirements and identification of admissibility issues before passengers get to the airport," he added.
IATA experts have come out with a list of what all travellers will be able to do in future:
- Create a verified digital identity using their airline app on their smart phone
- Use their digital identity and can send proof of all required documentation to destination authorities in advance of travel
- Receive a digital ‘approval of admissibility’ in their digital identity/passport app
- Share the verified credential (not all their data) with their airline
- Receive confirmation from their airline that all is in order and go to the airport
The new standards have been developed to protect passengers’ data and ensure that travel remains accessible to all. Passengers remain in control of their data and only credentials (verified approvals, not the data behind them) are shared peer-to-peer (with no intermediating party).
This is interoperable with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) standards, including those for the Digital Travel Credential. Manual processing options will be retained so that travelers will have the ability to opt out of digital admissibility processing.
"Travellers can be confident that this process will be both convenient and secure. A key point is that information is shared on a need-to-know basis," remarked Louise Cole, IATA’s Head Customer Experience and Facilitation.
"While a government may request detailed personal information to issue a visa, the only information that will be shared with the airline is that the traveler has a visa and under which conditions. And by keeping the passenger in control of their own data, no large databases are being built that need protecting. By design we are building simplicity, security and convenience," noted Cole.
IATA said its timatic offering is helping deliver the One ID vision with trusted entry requirement information for both stakeholders - the airlines and travellers.
Integrating timatic into the apps providing entry requirements registry model brings with it an established process for the global collection, verification, updating and distribution of this information, it added.
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