Singapore Airlines (SIA) said on Monday (8 March) that it will roll out the Travel Pass, a digital health application developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to verify the COVID-19 status of passengers. The Travel Pass mobile app will be used on the airline’s Singapore to London route from 15 to 28 March 2021. This marks the second phase of SIA’s digital health verification process trials, which is based on the IATA Travel Pass framework.
SIA had trialled the first phase of its digital health verification process using the Travel Pass in December 2020. Customers who took their Covid-19 tests at selected clinics in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur were given either digital or paper health certificates with a QR code. Airport check-in staff and Singapore’s immigration authority verified the authenticity of these certificates via a secure mobile app, and ensured that the customers met Singapore’s entry requirements. The trial recorded more than 200 successful health certificate verifications by SIA check-in staff, with no fraudulent certificates detected.
In the second phase on the Singapore to London route, passengers with mobile phones running on Apple’s iOS operating system will be invited to download the IATA Travel Pass app, and create a digital ID comprising their profile photo and passport information. They can also insert their flight information into the app. Subsequently, they can book their pre-departure COVID-19 test at one of seven participating clinics in Singapore via a dedicated online portal. They can then register at the clinic using the digital ID and flight information in the app. They will be able to view their test results, as well as confirmation status to fly, directly on the app. IATA’s Timatic registry will provide the back-end information on the COVID-19 testing and entry requirements.
Participants will need to show their confirmed status in the app to the check-in staff in Changi Airport before flight departure. In line with current regulatory requirements, they will also need to bring a physical copy of their health certificate that is issued by the clinic where they took their COVID-19 test. By consolidating the verification of health credentials into a single app, participants can expect a faster and more seamless check-in process. Participants will have full control over how their personal information is shared, as the data is stored locally in the mobile phone and not in any central database. This is critical given the highly sensitive nature of health data.
If successful, the second phase programme will pave the way for the integration of the entire digital health verification process into the SingaporeAir mobile app from around mid-2021, again using IATA’s Travel Pass framework. SIA will continue to work closely with its partners in Singapore and around the world in the facilitation of these trials, and towards the eventual restoration of a seamless travel experience for its customers.
JoAnn Tan, acting senior vice president for marketing planning at Singapore Airlines, 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.”
Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo, and security 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 travellers 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.”