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IATA looks to digital health pass for safe reopening of borders

  • Air
  •   11-25-2020  5:43 am
  •   Pax Global Media

IATA looks to digital health pass for safe reopening of borders
Pax Global Media

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is in the final stages of developing the IATA Travel Pass, a digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders.

IATA's travel pass comes against a backdrop where governments are starting to use testing as a way to reduce the risk of importing COVID-19 when their borders reopen to travellers, without quarantine measures .

It should make it possible to manage and verify the secure flow of information on the need for screening or vaccination between governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.

“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.

IATA's first cross-border travel pass pilot project is slated for later this year, and launch is slated for the first quarter of 2021.

Routine screening recommended

IATA calls for routine testing for COVID-19 in all international travellers.

According to the Association, the information infrastructure needed to do this should include the following:

• Support governments by providing the means to verify the authenticity of tests and the identity of persons presenting test certificates;

• Support airlines by providing them with the means to deliver accurate information to their passengers on screening requirements and to ensure that passengers meet travel requirements;

• Support laboratories by providing them with the means to issue passengers with digital certificates that will be recognized by governments; and

• Support travellers with accurate information on screening requirements, where they can be tested or vaccinated, and how to safely convey testing information to airlines and border authorities.

Four modules

The IATA Travel Pass incorporates four modules that can be combined to arrive at an end-to-end solution:

Global Health Requirements Registry - allowing passengers to find accurate information on travel, screening and possibly vaccine requirements for their journey.

Global Registry of Testing and Vaccination Centers - which enables passengers to find testing centres and laboratories at their departure locations that meet the testing and vaccination standards required at their destination locations.

• Lab App - which allows laboratories and authorized testing centres to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers.

• Contactless travel app - which allows passengers to…

  • create a "digital passport",
  • receive the test and vaccination certificates and verify that they meet the requirements of their itinerary, and
  • share test and vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities to facilitate travel. This app can also be used by travelers to manage their travel documents digitally and seamlessly throughout their journey, improving their travel experience.

To replace quarantine

IATA and the International Airlines Group  (IAG) have worked together to develop this solution and will undertake a trial to demonstrate that this combined platform with COVID-19 screening can enable international travel to resume and replace measures quarantine.

The airline industry is demanding an efficient, global and modular solution for safe travel resumption. The IATA Travel Card is based on industry standards and IATA's proven track record of managing information flows in the face of complex travel requirements.

The travel card is the solution

“Our main priority is to get people traveling 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 Nick Careen, IATA's senior vice-resident, airport, passenger, cargo and security. "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." 

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