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IATA Details Key Elements of Its Travel Pass App

December 21, 2020

International Air Transport Association is developing the IATA Travel Pass, a mobile app that will allow travelers to easily and securely manage COVID-19 testing or vaccination information in line with government travel requirements.

The IATA Travel Pass is scheduled to be released early in the first quarter of 2021 for Android and for iPhone.

The key elements of the IATA Travel Pass are:

Personal Data Security – Allowing travelers to maintain control of their personal information to ensure data security and privacy. The IATA Travel Pass stores encrypted data including verified test or vaccination results on the mobile device of the traveler, not in a central database or data repository.

The traveler controls what information is shared from their phone with airlines and authorities. The Travel Pass also incorporates the highest standards of data protection laws, including EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Verified Identity and Test Results – A government issued ePassport is used to verify the identity of the user. A digital representation of the user’s passport is also created to allow secure electronic transfer of information. This is based on International Civil Aviation Organization standards outlined in its COVID-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) guidelines.

Until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to the general public, the priority for travelers is on testing. IATA is partnering with selected and established laboratories to securely link their test results with the verified identity of the IATA Travel Pass holder.

The World Health Organization is developing digital standards to make health and vaccination information more secure. When those standards are implemented, the IATA Travel Pass will be able to accommodate them.

Contactless Travel – The aviation industry has been developing contactless travel processes as part of a One ID program for several years. The digital identity management module in the IATA Travel Pass means travelers will also be able use contactless travel processes from check-in to boarding.

While the need for COVID-19 testing and vaccination verification may eventually disappear with the end of the pandemic, the IATA Travel Pass will continue to be part of a contactless travel experience.

“Testing is the immediate solution to safely re-open borders and re-connect people. And eventually this is likely to transition to vaccination requirements,” said 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 travelers and governments can trust. And it is being built with data security, convenience and verification as top priorities.”

During the pandemic crisis and beyond, contactless processes will continue to be popular with travelers, according to IATA research.

• 70 percent of passengers had concerns about handing over their passport, phone or boarding pass to airline agents, security staff or government officials at the airport

• 85 percent of travelers said that touchless processing throughout the airport would make them feel safer, and

• Already 44 percent of travelers said that they are willing to share personal data to enable touchless process, up significantly from 30 percent in June.

Several initiatives are already underway to create global standards for apps that will provide immigration and health officials testing and vaccination data on individual travelers. One that is currently being tested is CommonPass, an app which enables governments to verify health criteria for travelers.

American Airlines has launched a similar mobile app for their passengers called Verifly that allows real-time certification of COVID-19-related health credentials. The app shows testing and documentation requirements for the passenger’s destination, and verifies the traveler’s data matches the country’s requirements.