To re-open borders without quarantine and restart aviation governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing COVID-19. This means having accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status.
Informing passengers on what tests, vaccines and other measures they require prior to travel, details on where they can get tested and giving them the ability to share their tests and vaccination results in a verifiable, safe and privacy-protecting manner is the key to giving governments the confidence to open borders. To address this challenge IATA is working on launching the IATA Travel Pass, a digital platform for passengers.
Current challenges to accurate health information
- Complexity and variety- The fragmented and diverse set of COVID-19 testing requirements for entry and exit as well as the range of different types of tests (PCR, LAMP, antigen and spectroscopic) required by governments have created a challenging and complex environment for immigration authorities, passengers and airlines to navigate.
- Information gap- Passengers are confused and need accurate information. But they do not know where to find it – or understand it, even if they do find it.
- Inefficiencies, errors, fraud- Check-in agents need to follow extensive entry requirement guidance and try to determine the authenticity of multiple non-standard test documents passengers present to them. This leads to health check inefficiencies, errors and fraud – an increasing problem around the world.
The information flow infrastructure that is needed for systematic testing must support:
- Governments with the means to verify the authenticity of tests and the identity of those presenting the test certificates.
- Airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel.
- Laboratories with the means to issue certificates to passengers that will be recognized by governments, and
- Travellers with accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested or vaccinated, and the means to securely convey test information to airlines and border authorities
Solution: IATA Travel Pass
A global and standardized solution to validate and authenticate all country regulations regarding COVID-19 passenger travel requirements. IATA Travel Pass will incorporate four open sourced and interoperable modules which can be combined for an end-to-end solution:
The main priority is to get people traveling again safely. In the immediate term that means establishing confidence in governments that systematic pre-departure 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. It is built it in modules as an industry solution based on open source standards. It can be used in combination with other providers or as an end-to-end solution. The most important thing is that it is responsive to industry needs while enabling a competitive market.