The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on December 16 that the IATA Travel Pass is scheduled for release early in the first quarter of 2021. This initiative is a significant step to safely open up air travel, meeting the expectations of travellers, governments, and the airlines together.
The IATA Travel Pass initiative
For governments worldwide, the main worry is to mitigate the risks of importing COVID-19 from travellers effectively. At the same time, normalcy in businesses and tourism has to return. The airlines are also pressing to allow them to fly more. Taking all these factors into account, IATA has defined the ‘IATA Travel Pass’ as a secure digital platform for passengers.
According to IATA, the Travel Pass incorporates four open-sourced and interoperable modules forming a complete end-to-end solution. See Figure-1 for details.
You can read more about this initiative by clicking on this link to IATA’s document.
Passenger rights protection and data privacy
According to IATA, the app will work with the ePassports of passengers. Firstly, travellers link their IATA Travel Pass with their ePassport. Afterward, travellers link their medical data from COVID-19. Furthermore, the app will use blockchain technology and will not store any data by default. The traveller controls the data stored on the Travel Pass. The app will be available on the iPhone and Android platforms.
Travel Pass works only for ePassports
IATA has not listed out how it plans to deal with regular passport holders. According to READID, there are more than 150 countries issuing ePassports in 2020. But this does not imply that everyone in that country has an e-passport.
In addition, passengers may still need other apps as mandated by their governments.
The World Economic Forum is developing a platform called CommonPass, which works similar to IATA Travel pass. The app allows travellers to share their COVID-19 related data with authorities and airlines. Additionally, Singapore-based health and security firm International SOS is developing the ICC AOKpass mobile app, which stores medical information. Finally, India has been using the ‘ArogyaSethu’ app for the past eight months now to track COVID-19 infected and cured patients.
According to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general and CEO –
Testing is the immediate solution to safely re-open borders and re-connect people. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution that both travellers and governments trust. And it is being built with data security, convenience as top priorities.”
What do you think of IATA’s latest initiative with COVID-19? Will it ease passenger travel? Do write back to us in the comments section below.