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IATA Announces Key Features Of New Travel Pass App

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently outlined the steps for travelers to create an E-Passport on their soon to be released app, Travel Pass, using facial recognition features to match biometrics data contained in passport chips. 

They also shared key priorities in the Travel Pass, which include data privacy and security, global standards to verify identity and health information, and contactless travel processes.

facial recognition

The eventual rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine has summoned organizations involved within the travel industry to develop frameworks for a verification process. 

The W.H.O announced their plans for a digital vaccine certificate, while American Airlines launched a trial of their digital health pass.

In November, IATA revealed they were in the final stages of development of their Travel Pass mobile app. To provide a further update, IATA recently disclosed the key design features of the application so people could have a better understanding of what the Travel Pass is all about.

covid19 travel pass app

Speaking on IATA’s travel pass, Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA stated:

“Testing is the immediate solution to safely re-open borders and re-connect people. And eventually this is likely to transition to vaccination requirements. In either case, a secure system to manage COVID-19 testing or vaccination information is critical.” 

Additionally, IATA outlined their three priorities when designing the Travel Pass.

IATA Priority #1 – Data Security and Data Privacy

IATA highlighted data security and data privacy to be a key priority for the Travel Pass. 

traveler on phone pandemic

In this regard, IATA notes that the Travel Pass stores encrypted data including verified test or vaccination results on a traveler’s mobile device. The sharing of information must be authorized by the traveler, and there is no central database or data repository storing information. IATA believes by keeping travelers in complete control of their information, the highest standards for data privacy are ensured.

IATA also notes that the Travel Pass is built on the highest standards of data protection laws, such as General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR). The app will also be built in accordance with Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) principles.

mask traveler flight

The Travel Pass is set for release in the first quarter of 2021 for iPhone and Android. The app will use patented security encrypted technologies relative to each operating system. 

IATA Priority #2 – Global Standards Recognized by Government to Verify Identity and Test/Vaccine Information

The second priority which IATA is professing is a recognized global standard for governments to verify identity and testing/vaccine information. 

In relation to verifying identity, the IATA travel pass will enable travelers to create a digital representation of their passport. The app will use technology to link chip-data on passports to verify identity, subsequently creating a Type 1 digital travel credential in line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

The verification process will involve the following six steps:

1. Download IATA Travel Pass to smartphone and login

2. Take a selfie with the smartphone

3. Complete liveness test as instructed by phone, i.e. move head, close eyes as instructed

4. Scan data on two lines at bottom of passport photo page with smartphones and scan data-chip on passport as prompted by phone

5. IATA Travel Pass matches selfie photo and liveness test with passport data as data-chip contains biometric photo of passport holder. The app will verify if the passport belongs to the person on the phone and that the passport is genuine and not tempered with.

6. Verified digital credentials will be stored on app and may be used as a digital passport/ID.

In terms of verifying testing/vaccine information, IATA is partnering with selected established laboratories to securely link test results with the verified identity of the IATA Travel Pass holder. IATA notes that it is currently focusing on verifying testing as vaccines are not yet widely available, however they will prioritize digital standards for vaccine verification once it becomes widely available.

IATA Priority #3 – Contactless Travel Processes

The third priority which IATA is prioritizing is enhanced convenience and biosafety by integrating contactless travel processes.

IATA states that the Travel Pass is a part of their One ID program, which is designed to provide contactless travel processes from check-in to boarding.

plane take off empty gate

IATA notes that while COVID-19 vaccine and testing verification will become irrelevant once the pandemic is over, the Travel Pass is here to stay as a contactless solution. 

IATA highlighted the following research data to support contactless travel processes:

– 70% of travelers reported concerns handing personal documents such as passports, phones or boarding passes to airline agents, security staff, or government officials

– 85% of travelers reported feeling safer if touchless processing was available

– 44% of travelers are willing to share personal data to enable touchless processes, a rise from 30% in June

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

This is actually going to be worse than the East German Stasi ever were. I never used to believe in conspiracy theories, but that all changed in 2020. We are headed for a very dangerous dystopian future. The technology that was supposed to “help” us was actually just being used against us all along. There is no coming back from any of this, and it’s all just going to get worse and worse.


Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Remember when conspiracy theorists were just crazy?

Me neither.


Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Actually, I'm surprised that people don't see the real issue here, which is the rampant scaling up of a surveillance state where only the super-rich have the human right of privacy (because this app doesn't apply to private jet travel). I may be young enough to have grown up with all of this technology, but I've learned enough to know that history repeats itself when the masses don't learn from it. Are you old enough to remember the Stasi surveillance state in East Germany which used technology with a tiny fraction of the capabilities of today's tech?


Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Sounds to me like the only people they want travelling is young people, old people like my wife and I that don't know squat about how to do all this will be screwed.