Covid: New app to help you travel safely within weeks

Dubai - Iata Travel Pass will be launched in the first quarter of 2021.

(KT file photo)
(KT file photo)

Issac John

Published: Sat 19 Dec 2020, 10:46 AM

Last updated: Sat 19 Dec 2020, 10:57 AM

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has unveiled critical design elements of its hi-tech Travel Pass that would speed up reopening of borders while ensuring top-level data security and data privacy.

Explaining the key features of the mobile app, the Iata chief said: “The 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.”

The mobile app, which is soon to be made available to ensure swift reopening of borders and re-reconnect people, will help travelers easily and securely manage their travel in line with any government requirements for Covid-19 testing or vaccine information, the global body of airlines said.

The Travel Pass is scheduled for release early in the first quarter of 2021.

The app, which is being developed in four independent modules that can interact with each other, will also unlock the potential for convenient contactless travel processes from check-in to boarding.

“While the need for Covid-19 information verification may eventually disappear when we overcome the pandemic, the Travel Pass will remain a bold step forward in the implementation of contactless travel.

“Testing is the immediate solution to safely re-open borders and re-connect people. And eventually this is likely to transition to vaccination requirements. In either case, a secure system to manage Covid-19 testing or vaccination information is critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and CEO.

“We want airlines to have a competitive marketplace with the widest range of options that meet their specific needs,” said Nick Careen, Iata's senior vice president, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.

Three elements

The Travel Pass has three critical elements:

>> First, travellers will be in control of their personal information for top level data security and data privacy. The Travel Pass, built on the highest standards of data protection laws, stores encrypted data including verified test or vaccination results on the mobile device of the traveller. The traveler controls what information is shared from their phone with airlines and authorities, de Juniac said in a statement.

>> Second, the app will use a government issued ePassport to verify the identity of the user. “It also serves to create a digital representation of the user’s passport to allow the information to be sent electronically in a secured way that is linked to their verified identity. The key to this are global standards developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which match biometric passport data and a selfie taken by the user.”

>> Third, the app ensures verified test results or vaccine information in accordance with World Health Organisation’s new digital standards that make “these vastly more secure and will dramatically reduce fraud.”

Iata is partnering with selected and established laboratories to securely link their test results with the verified identity of the Travel Pass holder.

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