Airlines Trial COVID-19 Health Passports

January 2021

As air travel continues to remain significantly subdued amid the pandemic, several airlines have been exploring the idea of implementing some form of health verification process to get passengers into the skies again.

Singapore Air has revealed that it will begin trials of the Travel Pass, which was developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The app will now be used on all flights operated by Singapore Airlines in several major cities, including Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore itself, with the potential for an extension to other cities if the trials are successful. In addition, the airline also plans to combine the health certificate into its SingaporeAir mobile app within the next several months.

The Travel Pass app will require that passengers travelling on the selected routes take a COVID-19 test at a designated clinic, after which they will be issued either a paper or digital health certificate with a QR code, that can then be verified by airport check-in staff and Singapore’s immigration authority.

The airline notes that such COVID-19 tests and eventually vaccinations will soon become an essential part of air travel, with certificates being the ideal way of confirming a passenger’s health status.

Meanwhile, American Airlines is trialling a mobile app to make travel to international destinations easier. The VeriFLY app, from identity assurance software company Daon, helps passengers understand COVID-19 testing and documentation requirements for their destination.

It also helps the process of airport check-in through a digital verification to ensure that passengers have completed the requirements.

Passengers travelling to Montego Bay and Kingston, Jamaica, from or connecting through Miami, will have the opportunity to test the new solution at no cost by creating a secure profile and confirming details for their trip.

How the app works

After creating a secure profile on their mobile device, passengers are prompted to confirm details for their trip including:

  •   Their flight information
  •   A negative COVID-19 test that fulfils their destination’s requirements
  •   Any required documentation for travel to their destination based upon requirements published at that time.

As passengers verify each required element for travel, the app verifies that the passenger’s data matches a country’s requirements and displays a simple pass or fail message. This simple message will streamline the check-in and documentation verification process at the airport before departure.

The app also provides passengers with reminders when their travel window is coming to a close or once their credential has expired.

At Miami, on the day of travel, passengers using the VeriFLY app use an expedited entry lane for testing verification in the North Terminal. They have to show their approved ‘pass’ validation on the app.

American is working with multiple countries to streamline the process even further and incorporate the VeriFLY app at destination airports so that passengers have an expedited verification process on both ends of the trip.

The airline plans to expand the program to additional markets in the coming months ahead.

Qantas Airways has also announced it will make proof of COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for international passengers travelling to and from Australia.

Also in this issue:

  • 2021 – a Year Like No Other
  • New ID Numbers for South Africa Planned
  • News in Brief
  • Hong Kong Gets Identity Smart with ‘iAM Smart’
  • Effects of the COVID-19 Period on ID Verification and Secure Document Technologies
  • Thales Supports ICAO in Developing DTCs
  • India’s Electoral Commission Ready to Launch Digital Voter ID Cards
  • Singapore Commits to Less Paper and More Online Services

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