The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has unveiled key design elements of the IATA Travel Pass, a mobile app designed to help travellers in the post-Covid-era.
The IATA Travel Pass is designed to help travelers easily and securely manage their travel in line with any government requirements for Covid-19 testing or vaccine information. IATA prioritised three design elements for the app. These included top-level data privacy and security, with the app storing encrypted data that is then passed between traveller and airline or authority, with no central database or repository. In addition, meeting global standards recognised by governments was essential to ensure verified identity and test/vaccine information, and this is achieved through the use of government-issued ePassports to verify the identity of the user. Finally, the app’s integration into contactless travel processes.
To use the IATA Travel Pass, travellers simply download the app to their smartphone and log in. They will then be asked to take a selfie and complete a liveness test, moving their head or closing their eyes as directed by the app. Travellers then scan passport info into the app and the system matches photo with passport data to verify that the person is the owner of the passport and that the passport is a legitimate document. Finally, the verified digital travel credential is stored on the passenger’s phone and can be used as their ‘digital passport/ ID’.
The industry has been developing contactless travel processes as part of a One ID transformation program for several years. The IATA Travel Pass digital identity management module uses the well-developed principles of One ID (which are, in turn, based on ICAO standards). For the passenger, this means that the IATA Travel Pass will also unlock the potential for convenient contactless travel processes from check-in to boarding. As such, while the need for COVID-19 information verification may eventually disappear when we overcome the pandemic, IATA Travel Pass, however, will remain a bold step forward in the implementation of contactless travel.
IATA research amid the Covid-19 crisis (September 2020) shows that contactless processes will be popular with travellers, 70 percent of whom had concerns about handing over their passport, phone, or boarding pass to airline agents, security staff, or government officials at the airport; and 85 percent of whom said that touchless processing throughout the airport would make them feel safer.
“Testing is the immediate solution to safely re-open borders and re-connect people, and eventually this is likely to transition to vaccination requirements,” says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “In either case, a secure system to manage Covid-19 testing or vaccination information is critical. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution that both travellers and governments can trust, and it is being built with data security, convenience, and verification as top priorities.”
IATA is developing the IATA Travel Pass in four independent modules that can interact with each other. These modules will cover registries for regulatory entry requirements and labs/test centers, verified certificate issuance, digital identity, and the possibility for passengers to share their test results along their journey via their mobile device. Open standards enable the modules to be used as one solution or to complement capabilities being developed by other solutions providers.
“We are building the IATA Travel Pass with one aim—to help reconnect our world safely,” says Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo, and Security. “IATA has brought advancements in global standards like e-ticketing and mobile boarding passes to consumers in all parts of the world. This unique capability demonstrates that we can work with industry and governments to re-shape travel processes based on global standards. We are confident that we can deliver a complete solution with IATA Travel Pass.”
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