As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out, each country is in a different phase of managing the pandemic and protecting the safety of its citizens. This reality is driving the aviation industry’s push for the creation of a digital health passport that enables relevant COVID-19 personal health data to flow securely from passenger to airline to border patrol. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass digital health platform was developed to support the safe reopening of borders and it will be supported by industry partners, such as Collins Aerospace.

“Currently, the onus is on the passenger to research the test or vaccination requirements based on their itinerary for each country and then prove that they’ve had the appropriate tests or meet those requirements,” Tony Chapman, Senior Director Product Management and Strategy at Collins Aerospace explained. “On the other end, airlines need to manually review the paper documentation provided, which hasn’t been standardized across countries and authenticate the information. As borders open and we see more passengers travel internationally, this won’t be scalable.”

Chapman explained that the intent of digital health passports is to ease the burden on both the passenger and the airline by digitizing the process. This would include aligning a passenger’s itinerary to the required testing and reporting protocols, collecting test results digitally, and transferring the results that required tests have been met to the airlines and, in the future, receiving countries.

The success of a global digital health passport, like the IATA Travel Pass, relies on a system that can exchange, validate and authenticate all country regulations around COVID-19 passenger travel requirements. Additionally, passenger health data – limited to COVID-19 results – must be verified and transmitted securely.

“Airlines around the world already use our technology to exchange travel information to ensure passengers comply with airline business requirements. Health requirements are now being added to that information,” Chapman explained. “For verification and validation of the information, biometric enrollment is a key component of the mobile app to ensure that the passenger and the data associated with the passenger is verified and authenticated.”

Collins Aerospace will help integrate IATA’s Travel Pass platform into airlines’ passenger management systems using the company’s TransAction™ solution, which allows passenger data to be safely and securely exchanged between airlines and the IATA Travel Pass platform. TransAction is already in use by airlines around the world to exchange data between applications and airline hosts. “With many of these relationships already in place, we were able to respond very quickly with the integration since we already had the base of the platform and the integration was being used already for other purposes,” Chapman explained.  

For airlines that are looking to get started with Travel Pass, the integration is easy and streamlined. For passengers, the app is now available on app stores and can be downloaded from your mobile phone in this current trial phase.

Click here to learn more about how to get started with Travel Pass.

About Shany Seawright

A senior executive at Strategic Communications Group and Managing Editor of Connected Aviation Today, as well as other publications, Seawright oversees the editorial direction of the publication and managed the editorial staff.