IATA develops mobile apps for Covid-era travel to help reopen borders safely
November 25 2020 07:07 PM
IATA develops mobile apps for Covid-era travel to help reopen borders safely
IATA develops mobile apps for Covid-era travel to help reopen borders safely

Global aviation body IATA is developing a set of mobile apps to help passengers navigate Covid-19 travel restrictions and securely share test and vaccine certificates with airlines and governments.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic, plans to pilot the ‘Travel Pass’ platform by the year-end and deploy it for Android and Apple iOS phones in the first half of next year.

IATA Travel Pass is 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. IATA Travel Pass will manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.

Airlines are pressing governments to replace traffic-stifling quarantine requirements with systematic Covid-19 testing, with some success.

"Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely," IATA's Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security Nick Careen, said.

"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 programme. "

Passenger health and other data are not stored centrally but authenticated with blockchain, leaving consumers in control of what they share, IATA said.

A new "Contactless Travel" app will combine passport information with test and vaccination certificates received from participating labs. It will also draw on global registries of health requirements and testing and vaccination centres.

The platform is built on open source standards to help interoperability with existing systems including its member airlines' own customer apps.

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 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 the 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’s outgoing 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 matched with traveller identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of 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.”

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