The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is in the final stages of the development of its “Travel Pass”, a digital passport which they hope can be used as a means of testing and/or vaccine verification.
As more countries re-open their borders, some are trying to go as far as doing away with quarantines and mask usage on the basis that proper testing be conducted either shortly before, or on arrival. IATA hopes that their Travel Pass app will be one of the keys to help streamline both testing and vaccination data verification, with the hopes of making it easier for all parties in the travel sector to offer more relaxed traveling conditions.
The idea of a travel testing/vaccination passport also ties into a recent interview with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, where he said that the airline is looking at ways of amending its terms and conditions so that travelers will one day be required to prove that they are vaccinated before boarding a Qantas aircraft.
IATA hopes that they can work with governments, airlines, labs and the travelers themselves in order to provide end-to-end verifiable data via their “digital passport”.
“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.
The app will also provide information to end users such as country testing requirements, a list of approved labs and vaccination centers, a method of securely delivery results from labs to the user, and the ability to generate a “digital passport” which could then be scanned by airline and border control officials.
IATA is already working with International Airlines Group (the parent company of brands like British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia) in the hopes of trialing the app to demonstrate its capabilities.
“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. 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,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.
They hope to launch the app publicly in the first quarter of 2021.
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