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Singapore Airlines Expands Trial of Digital Health Verification

The process, based on IATA’s Travel Pass, will be available for customers on Singapore to London flights beginning March 15

March 10, 2021

Singapore Airlines has announced it is expanding its trial of a new digital health verification process based on the IATA Travel Pass technology. For a two-week period beginning next week customers on flights between Singapore and London will be able to present information related to their COVID-19 tests using the app.

The latest trial of the app runs on Singapore to London flights from March 15 to 28.

The carrier was the first airline in the world to launch trials of the app in December on flights operated by Singapore Airlines from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Since the first phase started, the airline has expanded the pre-departure testing to include seven clinics in Singapore.

The capability is available on Apple IOS phones. Passengers download the app and create a digital ID with their profile photo and passport information.

When they book their pre-departure Covid-19 test at one of the participating clinics in Singapore, they register with the clinic using their digital ID and flight information. Test results and, if negative, the confirmation to fly will be displayed via the app.

All data is stored locally on the mobile phone, rather than in a central database.

Currently, travelers are required to bring a physical copy of their health certificate issued by the clinic, but SIA said that “By consolidating the verification of health credentials into a single app, participants can expect a faster and more seamless check-in process”.

“Our partnership with Singapore Airlines for the first full deployment of the IATA Travel Pass will help get the world flying again. In the immediate term, it is the solution for travelers to safely and securely manage their travel health credentials,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president airport, passenger, cargo, and security.

“In the longer term, the digital identity elements of the IATA Travel Pass will place Singapore Airlines passengers at the front of the queue for an even more convenient contactless travel experience.”

Although at present the Singapore Air app only displays COVID-19 test results, IATA says its Travel Pass technology is able to support certificates of vaccination status in the future.

The Travel Pass technology is slated for trials on a number of airlines around the world, including three major Gulf carriers, as well as All Nippon Airways, Air Baltic, Malaysia Airlines, Rwandair and Air New Zealand.

The Travel Pass trials ramp up as governments around the world work to deploy their own digital health passports. In addition to test results, the passports will also contain vaccine certifications in an effort to revive the flagging travel industry.

This week, China introduced an international vaccine health passport that promises to exempt travelers from certain travel restrictions, becoming one of the first countries in the world to so.

Available in both digital and paper formats, the certificate shows details of a traveler’s COVID-19 inoculation, as well as nucleic acid and antibody test results.

Next week, The European Union is set to propose its own “digital green card,” and economic ministers of ASEAN meeting last week said discussions are underway to develop a common vaccine certificate for its 10 member countries.

In the US, leaders of 27 travel industry groups have sent a letter to the White House urging the administration to develop standards for credentials that would let travelers show they have been tested and vaccinated for COVID-19.

This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it would not be changing its current recommendation for people to avoid non-essential travel for either vaccinated or unvaccinated people.