The International Air Transport Association (IATA) will soon launch Blockchain-based passports that are capable of storing an individual’s health information digitally. The passport will specifically contain the status of Covid-19 testing and vaccination.
According to IATA, the move can reopen international travel and help in loosening the currently quarantine restrictions being experience across the globe. The health passport will be stored in an individual’s smartphone in the form of an application. The first phase of real-world testing is expected to commence in February.
The passport which will be known as IATA Travel Pass is considered a way to offer travelers complete control of their data. The app will also act as a two-way communication tool that will help broadcasting information to the right government agencies, airlines, and vaccination centers.
Already, four major airlines have signed up for the program. British Airways and Singapore Airlines plan to start their first phase of testing in February while Emirates and Etihad have forecasted launch dates in April.
IATA’s head of airport, passenger, and security products Alan Murray Hayden, praised robust blockchain technology in the scheme. He added that it was among the few technological implementations to date that has an apparent beneficial effect.
“The is the beauty that comes with the technology we are using. It places the passenger in complete control of their data. There is never a central database that no one can hack. The passenger will always own their data and share it with the airline. It will be mighty and will be among the first blockchain technology examples being implemented in a manner that is beneficial to people,” revealed Alan Murray.
Travel Pass will have four main interactive components. There will be the lab app, digital passport module that will allow data to be sent securely via the app and the testing labs, a global registry of up-to-date health requirements as required by the international travelers, and the global registry of vaccination centers. The modules will always work together as an end to end solution. However, they can also be used separately to complement systems that others are building. IATA developed the modules to help ensure they are completely interoperable with other solutions. All the modules can interact well with each other.
When the health and vaccination status of a passenger meets the international requirements, the passenger would be good to go.
“Passengers will have three important things in their cell phones. There will be the digital passports, test results and are okay to travel. The passengers will then have the freedom of choosing whether to share their data on an airline app. They will be requested to submit their data, and when they click submit, their data will be sent to the airline. It is a straightforward process from the passenger’s perspective. Within some few clicks of a few buttons, the airline will have the details of all its passengers, and they will always be sure and okay that the passenger is in good health to travel.”
The first passengers to be offered digital passports in the first quarter of 2021 will be the Etihad airline passengers.
“COVID-19 tests and vaccinations will be important to get the world flying again. Etihad has been the only airline since 1 August 2020 to require a pre-departure negative PCR test result for all the passengers across the world and again when the passengers arrive in Abu Dhabi,” said Etihad Aviation Group Chief Operating Officer Mohammad Al Bulooki.