The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass, a digital health passport that will support the safe reopening of borders, is now in the final phase of development and will see its first cross-border pilot later this year as well as a launch slated for 1Q2021.
As governments begin to rely on testing as a replacement of quarantine measures to limit the risks of Covid-19 importation when reopening their borders to travellers, the IATA Travel Pass will support the procedure by managing and verifying the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.
The IATA Travel Pass incorporates four open sourced and interoperable modules which can be combined for an end-to-end solution. The first module covers a global registry of health requirements, which enables passengers to find accurate information on travel, testing and eventually vaccine requirements for their journey.
The second covers a global registry of testing / vaccination centre, enabling passengers to find testing centres and labs at their departure location which meet the standards for testing and vaccination requirements of their destination.
The third module takes in the Lab App, which enables authorised labs and test centres to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers.
Lastly, the 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 Travel Pass is based on industry standards and IATA’s proven experience in managing information flows around complex travel requirements. IATA’s Timatic, which is used by most airlines to manage compliance with passport and visa regulations, is the base for the global registry and verification of health requirements.
IATA’s One ID initiative, which was endorsed by a resolution at its 75th Annual General Meeting in 2019 to securely facilitate travel processes with a single identity token, is the base for the IATA Contactless Travel App.
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.
“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 traveler 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,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
Nick Careen, IATA senior vice president, airport, passenger, cargo and security, commented: “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. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine programme. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both.”
Careen explained that the IATA Travel Pass’s interoperability will allow it to be used in combination with other providers or as a standalone end-to-end solution.
Throughout the travel and tourism crisis, IATA has advocated the use of rapid, accurate, affordable, easy-to-operate, scalable and systematic Covid-19 testing for all passengers before departure as an alternative to restrictive quarantine measures in order to re-establish global air connectivity.
Earlier in June, Juniac had expressed: “Imposing quarantine measures on arriving travelers keeps countries in isolation and the travel and tourism sector in lockdown.”