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Singapore Airlines testing world-first digital health verification process

Singapore Airlines testing world-first digital health verification process
December 28, 2020

Singapore Airlines has become the first major airline to test a digital health verification process used to verify a passenger’s COVID-19 test results and vaccination status, in what the company described as the new normal for travel.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) recently announced that it has commenced the world’s first trials of a “health verification process” developed by a major airline lobby, the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The verification is enabled by an application developed by Affinidi, a Temasek-founded technology company enabling portable and verifiable data credentials.

The app, known as Travel Pass, is being used on flights operated by Singapore Airlines from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. The company said that it could extend the program to other cities in the SIA route network if the trials are successful.

Customers who take their COVID-19 tests at selected clinics in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur will be given either digital or paper health certificates with a QR code. Airport check-in staff and Singapore’s immigration authority will be able to verify the authenticity of these certificates via a secure mobile app, and ensure that the customers meet Singapore’s entry requirements. Customers without a digital certificate can also present the paper version for manual verification.

This is a faster and more secure way to validate a passenger’s health credentials than the existing protocols, speeding up both the airport check-in process and the immigration entry process into Singapore. It will make it easier for SIA customers to control their information, reduce friction during their travel journey, and result in a more seamless experience with the aid of digital technologies in the new normal.

IATA’s Timatic registry will provide the back-end information on the COVID-19 testing and entry requirements. This is part of the modular Travel Pass solution, which aims to allow travellers to easily and securely manage their travel in line with national requirements for COVID-19 testing and vaccine information.

Singapore Airlines also plans to integrate the entire process into the SingaporeAir mobile app from around mid-2021, again using the Travel Pass framework. This will support the drive towards a secure and convenient industry standard for the verification of COVID -19 test and vaccinations.

SIA will work closely with its partners in Singapore, including the Ministry of Transport, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) in the facilitation of these trials and towards the eventual restoration of a seamless travel experience for its customers.

Singapore Airlines Acting Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, JoAnn Tan notes “COVID-19 tests and vaccinations will be an integral part of air travel for the foreseeable future. We are offering a digital solution that allows the easy and secure verification of this information, and supports the industry’s safe and calibrated recovery from this pandemic. Using IATA’s robust Travel Pass framework will also provide our customers and governments with the assurance that they need about the security and authenticity of the test and vaccination information.”

 IATA Senior Vice President Airport Passenger, Cargo, Security, Nick Careen added “partnering with Singapore Airlines for the world’s first deployment of the Timatic COVID-19 module of the IATA Travel Pass is a big step forward. Together we will demonstrate that people can return to travel with confidence that they are meeting all government COVID-19 entry requirements. We already have plans to add additional features in the New Year. This will help ensure that SIA’s customers will be among the first to benefit as governments re-open their borders with testing or vaccination requirements. And the experience gained through collaboration helps prepare for the eventual global deployment of the IATA Travel Pass.”

Image: The verification is enabled by an application developed by Affinidi, a Temasek-founded technology company enabling portable and verifiable data credentials. Credit Affinidi

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