IATA announces digital travel passport

The IATA Travel Pass App will contain all the passenger details necessary for safe, efficient travel. It will inform passengers on what tests, vaccines, and other measures they require prior to travel, details on where they can get tested, and, most importantly, the ability to share their tests and vaccination results in a verifiable manner that also protects privacy.

The aim is to give airlines and governments accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status and therefore the confidence that they can restart operations and re-open borders.

The IATA Travel Pass does not add any unnecessary data elements to promote this aim. It merely facilitates the exchange of information. Indeed, Hayden points out that government buy-in is not essential to the App’s success. “Checking a passenger has the correct documentation has always been an airline responsibility so IATA Travel Pass is good to go immediately,” he says. “Vaccination certificates or test results are just another check.

“Longer term, of course government involvement will make life easier, especially approving health details presented in a digital format rather than on paper. Border controls are saying they need certain information but are less forthcoming about how that information must be presented.”

The ICAO aviation recovery task force (CART) has updated its guidance for globally accepted COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates, including the technology framework for securely creating digital versions. These recommendations are now included in the ICAO Manual on Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures. A recent IATA poll reported that 89% of respondents believe that governments must standardize vaccination and testing certificates. It will be a critical element for maximizing the benefit of the IATA Travel Pass.

CART, however, has recommended that travelers should not necessarily be vaccinated for international travel.