I refer to Dr Yik Keng Yeong’s letter “Airlines should tell passengers their destination country’s policy on swab test timing” (May 21).
Covid-19 testing and vaccination are important enablers to reopening borders and reconnecting the world.
However, the challenge is that governments have not agreed on a common set of requirements to allow entry.
Some accept rapid antigen tests, others require polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. And the time frame for taking the tests can vary.
That is why the International Air Transport Association (Iata) has developed the Iata Travel Pass.
It is aimed at helping travellers easily and securely manage their travel health credentials in line with government requirements for Covid-19 tests or vaccines.
At the same time, governments can have confidence in a traveller’s declared Covid-19 status, be it testing or vaccination, as paper certificates are vulnerable to fraud.
Being able to verify travel health credentials digitally will enhance the efficiency of airlines, airports, and immigration authorities in processing large numbers of passengers when travel demand picks up from the current low numbers.
Trials of the Iata Travel Pass are ongoing.
It consists of four modules – a global registry of health requirements, a global registry of testing centres, a lab app to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers, and a travel app which enables passengers to create a digital passport and manage their travel documentation digitally.
At all times, travellers remain in control of their data with their privacy protected, as the Iata Travel Pass does not store any data centrally.
The pass, however, is not the magic bullet for restarting travel if governments do not reopen borders and remove restrictions such as quarantine.
We urge governments to establish a road map towards reopening borders and relaxing travel restrictions once it is safe to do so, and to share this road map with the industry so as to allow airlines to plan ahead and provide the necessary connectivity.
Regional Director, Airports and External Relations, Asia Pacific
International Air Transport Association