By Veronica Inveen
Dec 8, 2020
A NEW DIGITAL PASSPORT could help you pass through borders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it’s in the final development phase of its IATA travel pass, a digital “passport” in the form of an app that could be the key to reopening international borders safely.
The travel pass will provide information about a user’s individual test results, proof of inoculation (when vaccines become available), and a link to an electronic copy of their passport. Travelers will be able to use the app to ensure they are meeting the rules for entry at their destination’s border.
When traveling with the app, users will present a QR code at the border to quickly share all relevant information with authorities. It will be built with block-chain technology, meaning that the service won’t store personal data.
“Our main priority is to get people traveling again safely,” Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President of airport, passenger, cargo and security, said in a statement. “In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both.”
The IATA Travel Pass should be available within the coming months, according to the company. It will begin with a testing program with IAG SA, parent company of British Airways, later this year. It should be made available on Apple devices in early 2021, with Android support following a few months later.
Governments will be able to use the IATA Travel Pass in combination with other services or as a standalone program for their borders.
It will be free to use for travelers and governments, with airlines paying a small fee per passenger, Bloomberg reported.
IATA is not the only developer working on a digital COVID-19 travel pass. The World Economic Forum has developed an app called CommonPass and the security firm International SOS developed a similar service called AOKpass.