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IATA Announces Creation of Digital COVID-19 Travel Pass



The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today announced that it’s in the final development stages for a mobile app called ‘IATA Travel Pass’, which will enable flyers to easily display their COVID credentials at airports.

The digital Travel Pass will display a record of an individual’s test results, proof of inoculation (as vaccines become available) and link to an electronic copy of the user’s passport for identity verification. For users, it will also serve as a resource that lists various rules for national entry and nearby lab locations that meet their destination’s testing and/or vaccination requirements, Bloomberg reported.


IATA’s aim, like other groups developing so-called “COVID Passports” is to support the safe reopening of international borders and get the travel industry back on its feet, especially as approval of COVID-19 vaccines appear likely to arrive in coming months.

With many countries now adopting testing requirements for travelers in lieu of quarantine, having a verifiable, handheld method of storing and sharing your test results and (eventually) proof of vaccination could be invaluable. The app also incorporates open-sourced and interoperable software that will allow labs to securely deliver test results and certificates to passengers directly.

“Today, borders are double-locked. Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveler identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of IATA Travel Pass,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Travel Pass will be free for travelers and governments to use, while airlines will pay a small fee for each passenger who uses the service in the course of their travel journey. Alan Murray Hayden, IATA’s head of passenger and security products, said during a briefing that IATA has already had positive talks with one government about using the software and expects that other nations will follow suit.

The app will be based upon IATA’s existing Timatic platform, a system used by airlines and travel agents to verify passengers’ travel document requirements. Murray Hayden specified that the app will rely on block-chain technology and won’t store personal data. He also said that the trade organization’s goal is simply to get people back into the air again and that it would be happy to work with other providers to improve efficiency.

“Our main priority is to get people traveling again safely. In the immediate term, that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements,” Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security said in a statement. “It can be used in combination with other providers or as a standalone end-to-end solution. The most important thing is that it is responsive to industry’s needs while enabling a competitive market.”

The first cross-border IATA Travel Pass pilot program will take place in partnership with British Airways’ parent company, IAG SA, later this year and the product’s launch is planned for the first quarter of 2021.

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