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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 January 2021

Here is what you need to know about Iata’s Travel Pass

The first cross-border pilot app is expected within weeks

Empty lines ahead of a security gate at Manchester Airport in the UK. Iata's Travel Pass app aims to help facilitate travel in a safe and secure manner that meets Covid-19 screening requirements of countries. Getty
Empty lines ahead of a security gate at Manchester Airport in the UK. Iata's Travel Pass app aims to help facilitate travel in a safe and secure manner that meets Covid-19 screening requirements of countries. Getty

The International Air Transport Association is developing a digital health pass to prove passengers have tested negative for Covid-19 or have been vaccinated.

Iata disclosed key features of the application, which is called the Travel Pass.

The app could help revive international travel as demand for air travel remains weak despite vaccine breakthroughs. Overall, international passenger demand in October was 87.8 per cent lower than it was in the same month last year, according to Iata.

Travel Pass is a system that both travellers and governments can trust and “is being built with data security, convenience and verification as top priorities”, according to Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and chief executive.

Here are some of the application’s features:

What is the Iata Travel Pass?

It is a mobile app to help travellers securely manage their journeys in line with government requirements that require testing or information about a person’s Covid-19 vaccine status..

How is Iata building the pass?

Iata is developing the pass in four independent stages.

These are the maintenance of records for regulatory entry requirements and information related to test centres, verified certificate issuances, digital identity and the possibility for passengers to share their test results through their mobile devices.

Iata is also partnering with select laboratories worldwide to securely link test results to the verified identity of a pass holder.

“We are building the pass with one aim ... to help reconnect our world safely,” said Nick Careen, Iata’s senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security.

Is Travel Pass safe to use?

All information, including test results and vaccination reports, will be encrypted and stored on the traveller’s smartphone. Users can control what information is shared from their phone with airlines and authorities.

“By keeping travellers 100 per cent in control of their information, the highest standards for data privacy are ensured … no central database or data repository is storing the information,” Iata said.

How do potential users feel about using the app?

Travellers are willing to share their personal information if it makes travelling safe, according to Iata, which represents about 300 airlines worldwide.

Seven in 10 passengers had concerns about handing over their passport, phone or boarding pass to airline agents, security staff or government officials at airports, Iata said, citing a survey conducted in September.

About 85 per cent of travellers will feel safer using contactless processing facilities at airports and 44 per cent are willing to share personal data to enable touchless processing.

When will the Travel Pass be launched?

The first cross-border Travel Pass pilot is expected within weeks. The worldwide launch is scheduled for the first quarter of next year on both Android and iOS mobile operating systems.

Updated: December 20, 2020 10:45 PM

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