Starting next week, Singapore Airlines will be the latest airline to pilot the new International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) mobile phone travel pass for digital health verification. The second phase of Singapore Airlines’ health verification trials, based on the IATA Travel Pass framework, will start with passengers traveling between Singapore and London from March 15 until March 28, 2021.
A statement from Singapore Airlines released today says that passengers who have mobile phones that run on Apple’s iOS operating system will be invited to download the IATA Travel Pass app. Once downloaded, they can create a digital ID that contains a photo and passport information. They can also input all of their flight information into the app.
You still need a hard copy
Once the IATA Travel Pass app is successfully installed, passengers can then book their pre-departure COVID-19 test at any one of seven participating Singapore clinics. After registering at the clinic with the Travel Pass app, passengers will be able to view their test results and confirm to fly status directly on the app. The IATA’s Timatic registry will also provide the back-end information on the COVID-19 testing and entry requirements.
Before their flight’s departure, passengers must show they are confirmed to fly status in the app to Singapore Airlines check-in staff at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). Along with the app, passengers will still need to bring a physical copy of the COVID-19 test results given to them by the clinic where the test was performed.
The info is only on the phone
Passengers will control how their personal information is shared as the data is stored only in the phone and not on any central database. It is hoped that consolidating the verification of health credentials in the app will lead to a more streamlined check-in process.
If the pilot program proves to be successful, it will pave the way for integrating the entire digital health verification process into Singapore Airlines SingaporeAir mobile app by mid-2021. Singapore Airlines says that it will continue working closely with its partners in Singapore and worldwide to come up with a trouble-free travel experience for all its customers.
When speaking about the trials in the statement, Singapore Airlines Acting Senior Vice President Marketing Planning Ms. JoAnn Tan said,
“The first phase of the trials helped to support SIA’s drive towards a secure and convenient industry standard for the verification of COVID-19 test results, and the health status of passengers, including their vaccination status, in the future.
“That gives us the confidence that in the second phase, we can further streamline the verification process for eventual integration into SIA’s mobile application. This will help to provide a hassle-free digital solution for our customers in the new normal and help to bring about a more seamless travel experience.”
With regards to the Singapore Airlines trial, the IATA’s Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo, and Security, Nick Careen, said,
“Our partnership with Singapore Airlines for the first full deployment of the IATA Travel Pass will help get the world flying again. In the immediate term, it is the solution for travelers to safely and securely manage their travel health credentials. In the longer term, the digital identity elements of the IATA Travel Pass will place Singapore Airlines passengers at the front of the queue for an even more convenient contactless travel experience.”
Vaccinations are the answer
While having a digital certificate to prove you do not have the coronavirus is a step in the right direction having to have a hard copy of the results to show airline staff negates the need for a digital certificate.
As we have already seen, some people have created fraudulent documents to say that they have taken a PCR test and received a negative result when they have, in fact, not been tested. Could the same thing be done by hacking the app? Until more people have been vaccinated and can prove it, PCR tests appear to be the norm.