IATA’s head of airport, passenger and security products, Alan Murray Hayden, reported that rapid progress is being made to bring its Travel Pass digital health credentialing solution to market, and that most airlines worldwide will be using it from March.
IATA has developed the Travel Pass in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has built on existing IATA solutions, including Timatic, a product used by airlines and travel agents for more than 50 years to verify passengers’ travel documents.
Hayden said the Travel Pass has been developed quickly because it is an extension of the contactless identity application that IATA was developing prior to COVID in partnership with Evernym, a developer of digital identity solutions.
The main feature of Travel Pass is a mobile application that helps travelers store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines; it also provides more security and efficiency than paper-based processes.
“One of the challenges of testing so far is the time it takes for agents to actually verify the evidence, number one and number two, the proliferation of false evidence,” says Hayden.
“A system like this is also required from an operational point of view. For example, a large UK airline currently carries only 5-10% of its normal number of passengers, but needs 100% of its check-in agents to work to verify the test results of those passengers. That, frankly, is not sustainable. So by using the electronic version and the verifiable credential the airlines can eliminate all this work and have the passengers arrive completely documented,” adds Hayden.
The Travel Pass system has four components: A health requirements record allows passengers to find accurate information about travel, testing and, eventually, vaccination requirements. Powered by Timatic, the log can determine if and when a traveler’s test type is appropriate for the itinerary.
Secondly, it has a register of testing and vaccination centers so that travelers can find laboratories that meet the requirements of the destination government.
Third, IATA and Evernym have built an application that allows testing laboratories to securely send results or vaccination certificates to passengers.
And finally, the Travel Pass allows travelers to store a digital version of their passport and test results. Travelers can also share those results with the airline and destination authorities.