New details about the IATA Travel Pass, scheduled to launch Q1 2021
Credit: iata.org

New details about the IATA Travel Pass, scheduled to launch Q1 2021

GENEVA — IATA has announced new details about its IATA Travel Pass, a mobile app designed to help travellers easily and securely manage their travel in line with any government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information.

“Testing is the immediate solution to safely re-open borders and re-connect people. And eventually this is likely to transition to vaccination requirements. In either case, a secure system to manage COVID-19 testing or vaccination information is critical. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution that both travellers and governments can trust. And it is being built with data security, convenience and verification as top priorities,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The IATA Travel Pass is scheduled for release early in the first quarter of 2021 for Android and for iPhone.

IATA says it focused on its priorities for the travel pass with these points in mind:

  • By keeping travellers 100% in control of their information, the highest standards for data privacy are ensured, says IATA. The IATA Travel Pass stores encrypted data including verified test or vaccination results on the traveller’s mobile device. The traveler controls what information is shared from their phone with airlines and authorities. No central database or data repository is storing the information.
  • Global standards recognized by governments will ensure verified identity and test/vaccine information.

a) A government issued ePassport is used to verify the identity of the user. It also serves to create a digital representation of the user’s passport to allow the information to be sent electronically in a secured way that is linked to their verified identity.

b) Verified test results or vaccine information: Currently the main vaccination requirement for entry into some countries is for yellow fever. Under the International Health Regulations, this is managed by the “yellow card” or International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis. The World Health Organization (WHO) is developing digital standards that will make these vastly more secure and will dramatically reduce fraud. When ready, the IATA Travel Pass will be able to accommodate such new global standards.

Until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to the general public, notes IATA, the priority is on COVID-19 testing. Laboratories have well-established safety standards for managing and verifying test results to individuals. IATA is partnering with selected and established laboratories to securely link their test results with the verified identity of the IATA Travel Pass holder.

  • Convenience and biosafety will be enhanced with integration into contactless travel processes. The ICAO CART recommendations for biosafety include the use of contactless travel processes to reduce the risk of virus transmission when documents need to be exchanged in the travel process.

MORE PROCESSES CONTACTLESS

The IATA Travel Pass will also unlock the potential for convenient contactless travel processes from check-in to boarding.

IATA research amid the COVID-19 crisis (September 2020) shows that contactless processes will be popular with travellers:

  • 70% of passengers had concerns about handing over their passport, phone or boarding pass to airline agents, security staff or government officials at the airport
  • 85% of travellers said that touchless processing throughout the airport would make them feel safer, and;
  • 44% of travellers said that they are willing to share personal data to enable touchless process, up significantly from 30% in June

INTEROPERABLE SOLUTION

IATA says it’s developing the IATA Travel Pass in four independent modules that can interact with each other. These modules will cover registries for regulatory entry requirements and labs/test centres, verified certificate issuance, digital identity and the possibility for passengers to share their tests results along their journey via their mobile device. Open standards enable the modules to be used as one solution or to complement capabilities being developed by other solutions providers.

“We are building the IATA Travel Pass with one aim – to help reconnect our world safely,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security. “And we are building the IATA Travel Pass so that other solutions serving the same industry re-opening goal can also benefit from it. We want airlines to have a competitive marketplace with the widest range of options that meet their specific needs.”

IATA’s Timatic, which provides real-time updates on entry requirement information around the world, has been a foundational element of the IATA Travel Pass, he says, adding that integrating Timatic into the IATA Travel Pass entry requirements registry model brings with it an established process for the global collection, verification, updating and distribution of this information.