Singapore Airlines (SIA) recently started trials on a new digital health verification process, which is the first in the world to be based on the Travel Pass framework of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The travel pass offers customers the ability to securely store and present information related to Covid-19 tests, as well as their vaccination status in the future.
SIA is initially offering the service to customers travelling on flights its operates from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. If successful, the airline may extend the service to other cities in the SIA route network.
Customers who take their Covid-19 tests at selected clinics in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur would be given either digital or paper health certificates with a QR code. Airport check-in staff and Singapore’s immigration authority would be able to verify the authenticity of these certificates via a secure mobile app, and ensure that the customers meet Singapore’s entry requirements. Customers without a digital certificate can also present the paper version for manual verification.
“This is a faster and more secure way to validate a passenger’s health credentials than the existing protocols, speeding up both the airport check-in process and the immigration entry process into Singapore,” SIA said in an announcement.
According to SIA, its new digital health verification process, makes it easier for SIA customers to control their information, reduce friction during their travel journey, and result in a more seamless experience with the aid of digital technologies in the new normal.
IATA’s Timatic registry will provide the back-end information on the Covid-19 testing and entry requirements. This is part of the modular Travel Pass solution, which aims to allow travellers to easily and securely manage their travel in line with national requirements for Covid-19 testing and vaccine information.
Singapore Airlines also plans to integrate the entire process into the SingaporeAir mobile app from around mid-2021, again using the IATA Travel Pass framework.
The verification is enabled by an application developed by Affinidi, a Temasek-founded technology company enabling portable and verifiable data credentials.
IATA: ‘This is a big step forward’
According to Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo, Security, the association’s cooperation with Singapore Airlines for the world’s first deployment of the Timatic Covid-19 module of the IATA Travel Pass is a big step forward.
“Together we will demonstrate that people can return to travel with confidence that they are meeting all government Covid-19 entry requirements,” Careen said.
IATA says it has plans to add additional features in the New Year.
“This will help ensure that SIA’s customers will be among the first to benefit as governments re-open their borders with testing or vaccination requirements. And the experience gained through collaboration helps prepare for the eventual global deployment of the IATA Travel Pass,” he added.
The IATA Travel Pass is scheduled for release early in the first quarter of 2021 for Android and for iPhone.
Asian Aviation is the official representative of Singapore Airlines in Greece, Cyprus and Albania.