IATA Travel Pass: Digital Health Pass supports travellers, safe reopening of borders

New system to be pilot tested soon, slated for Q1 2021 rollout

Situation of the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus The severe and continuous, does not stop affecting the global economy. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Situation of the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus The severe and continuous, does not stop affecting the global economy. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The air travel industry is moving closer towards implementing the use of a digital health passport that will both provide ease of travel and safeguard international passengers against coronavirus.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that it is now in the final development phase of the proposed “Travel Pass”, a contactless pass that may eventually lift strict quarantine measures at borders and limit the risks of virus importation.

IATA has been calling for the safe re-opening of borders without subjecting travellers to quarantine requirements, to entice the public to start travelling again. Instead, it is advocating for a systematic testing of all travellers to safeguard public safety.

“Today, borders are doubled 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 matched with traveller identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of IATA Travel Pass,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA.

“We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and the public health corridors that are starting operation,” de Juniac added.

Pilot testing

The travel pass is scheduled for pilot testing later this year, with the launch initially slated for the first quarter of 2021.

With the travel pass, travellers will be able to access a contactless app to create a “digital passport”, receive test and vaccination certificates, which can then be shared with airlines and authorities.

The app can also be used by travellers to manage travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout their journey, thus improving travel experience.

“IATA and 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,” IATA said in a statement.

Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security, said their 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. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program,” said Careen.

“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,” added Careen.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)


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