17 March 2021. Geneva. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport of the first traveler using the IATA Travel Pass app to manage their travel health credentials.
“The successful implementation of IATA Travel Pass in this trial with Singapore Airlines passengers demonstrates that technology can securely, conveniently and efficiently help travelers and governments to manage travel health credentials. The significance of this to re-starting international aviation cannot be overstated,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
JoAnn Tan, Acting Senior Vice President, Marketing Planning, Singapore Airlines, said: “Digital health credentials will be essential as borders reopen and travel restrictions get progressively lifted worldwide. The successful implementation of the IATA Travel Pass reflects Singapore Airlines’ goal of using secure digital solutions to verify health credentials, and support a safe and seamless travel experience for our customers.”
Passengers on Singapore Airlines flights from Singapore to London during the trial could use IATA Travel Pass to:
- Create a secure digital version of their passport on their mobile device
- Input their flight details to learn of travel restrictions and requirements
- Receive verified test results and a confirmation that they meet all travel requirements
“Today’s success is a big win for many parties. It gives travelers a one-stop-shop to help them comply with the new rules for travel. It shows that governments can efficiently manage these travel requirements with complete confidence in the identity of the passenger and the veracity of the travel credentials—importantly, avoiding long queues. And it’s a purpose-built means for airlines to manage the new travel requirements without drowning in inefficient and ineffective paper processes,” said de Juniac.
“Airlines understand that their ground operations will grind to a halt if they have to manage COVID-19 travel requirements—test results or vaccine certifications—with paper documentation. The same is true for border authorities. The UK is ahead of other governments in mapping a way to re-starting international travel at scale. This real-life proof of concept should give all governments confidence that industry has a workable digital solution that will ease the pressure of incorporating health certificate checks into the travel process, including at borders. This trial is an opportunity for us to work with the UK government to demonstrate that the solution works and to share the results with others as we build a robust and efficient system that will help the world get moving again,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo, Security.
To gain maximum benefit from IATA Travel Pass and avoid confusion and inconvenience for passengers, the standardization of test or vaccination certifications, and their acceptance by authorities is key. A recent IATA poll of travelers found that 89% agree with the need for global standards and 80% are keen to use a mobile app to manage their travel credentials. Last Friday, ICAO moved the establishment of global standards for testing/vaccination certifications a step closer to reality. Next governments need to provide a digital COVID-19 test/vaccination certificate when people are tested or vaccinated so they have a verifiable document on their mobile device. This will ensure equivalence, mutual recognition, and acceptance of COVID-19 certifications for passengers when they travel around the world.