IATA Travel Pass: how does it work, which companies are testing it?

The "Travel pass" application developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) allows passengers to prove their health status before disembarking in another country.

IATA Travel Pass: how does it work, which companies are testing it?

The "Travel pass" application developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) allows passengers to prove their health status before disembarking in another country. Which companies test it, how does it work?

While air traffic is still strongly impacted by the Covid-19 epidemic and the closure of many borders, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) has developed and inaugurated its "Travel Pass", a "tool for essential certification" for air travel. Free, this app is currently being considered by governments around the world to support the restart of large-scale international travel.

The IATA Travel Pass is an application, an "essential certification tool to reopen borders in a safe way and with the confidence of the States", explained Tuesday March 9 Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association , on franceinfo. It allows passengers authorized to travel to create a digital passport accessible directly on their smartphone, verify that their test / vaccination complies with regulations and share test or vaccination certificates with authorities to facilitate travel. The IATA app is only available on the Apple Store at this time.

The IATA Travel Pass incorporates four modules which can be combined. The verifiable credentials technology used follows W3C standards which are free:

Faced with concerns about the possible use of private data, the International Air Transport Association assures on its website that the "IATA Travel Pass" does not store any data centrally. “It simply links entities that need verification (airlines and governments) with test or vaccination data when travelers allow it. This last point is essential. No verification will be transmitted to an airline or a government without the authorization of the traveler ", specifies IATA in a Frequently Asked Questions.

Emirates has been testing the IATA Travel Pass since April 15, 2021 on selected flights between Dubai and Barcelona and between London-Heathrow and Dubai. Each eligible passenger is invited to download the app and register to receive their digital passport before departure. In Dubai, Emirates has partnered with select Prime Health Care laboratories, which are authorized to securely send passengers their test results via the app. Those traveling from the UK can have their tests carried out at select Screen4 labs.

As of April 16, 2021, airline Virgin Atlantic has been the first UK airline to trial the IATA Travel Pass smartphone app between its base at London-Heathrow and Bridgetown-Grantley Adams Airport, "in close collaboration with the Government of Barbados, which will accept the Pass at its border". Customers traveling (for permitted purposes) on Virgin Atlantic VS131 flights to Barbados are invited to participate in the trial by downloading the IATA Travel Pass to their smartphone. They will then be able to create a digital ID including their profile photo and passport information, and upload their Covid-19 credentials, selecting the relevant flight information.

Swiss International Air Lines will be the first subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group to test the IATA Travel Pass app. From April 22, 2021 between its base in Zurich-Kloten and London-Heathrow airport, the Swiss national airline will test the "digital health passport" developed by IATA: voluntary passengers will be able to use the Travel Pass to "find out about the entry requirements related to the coronavirus in their country of destination and receive the result of their Covid 19 test directly in the app. This will allow them to provide airlines and authorities with proof that they meet the entry conditions without having to disclose personal health information, which will facilitate and speed up processes at airports "underlines the Swiss press release".

After a first test phase launched last December at several airports in Southeast Asia, Singapore Airlines tested the IATA Travel Pass digital health passport on long-haul flights in March, particularly between Singapore and London. Passengers with an iPhone who downloaded the app and created a digital ID (their profile picture and passport information) were able to insert their flight information into the Travel Pass and book their Covid-19 test before departure, at one of the seven participating clinics in Singapore via a dedicated online portal. They were then able to register for the clinic using the digital ID and flight information in the app; their test results, as well as flight confirmation status, can be viewed directly on the app.