Singapore Airlines Trialing Health Verification Based on IATA Model

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has begun trialing a new digital health verification process, the world's first based on the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass framework. Customers have the ability to securely store and present information related to COVID-19 tests, as well as vaccination status. 

Initially, the airline is trialing the service for customers traveling on Singapore Airlines flights from Jakarta, Indonesia or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Singapore. If the trials prove successful, the airline could extend the process to other cities in the SIA route network.

Singapore Airlines said it 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) during these trials. 

Margaret Tan, director, airport operations and aviation security, CAAS, described the trials as "an important step to facilitate the return of air travel." She expressed hope that other countries and airlines will consider a similar approach as it reassures health and border agencies that passengers have the required health credentials needed to protect public health.

How Does It Work? 

Customers taking Covid-19 tests at select clinics in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur are given either digital or paper health certificates with a QR code. Airport check-in staff and Singapore’s immigration authority are then able to verify the authenticity of these certificates via a secure mobile app, which ensures that they meet Singapore’s entry requirements.

SIA said that customers without a digital certificate can also present the paper version for manual verification. The airline also provided a list of clinics currently offering these digitally-verifiable health certificates.

The new process is expected to be a faster, more secure way to validate a passenger’s health credentials than past protocols. The airline said it should speed up both airport check-in and the immigration entry into Singapore.

In addition, the new process should make it easier for SIA customers to control their information, smooth the travel journey and result in a more seamless experience by use of digital technologies.

Technologies to Assist

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

The airline also said it will integrate the entire process into the SingaporeAir mobile app, starting in mid-2021, again using the Travel Pass framework.

In its press release, the airline said: "This would support the drive towards a secure and convenient industry standard for the verification of COVID-19 test and vaccinations." The verification is enabled by an application developed by Affinidi, a Temasek-founded technology company, that enables portable and verifiable data credentials

"COVID-19 tests and vaccinations will be an integral part of air travel for the foreseeable future," said JoAnn Tan, acting senior vice president, marketing planning, Singapore Airlines. "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."

She added that use of IATA’s Travel Pass framework will also give the airline's customers and governments the assurances needed about test security and authenticity as well as vaccination details. 

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