From 22 April onwards, Lufthansa Group and Star Alliance member, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) will begin its trial of the IATA travel pass, which it will do on its Zurich-London Heathrow route. The IATA Travel Pass is an app-based digital health passport. SWISS will be the first airline in the Lufthansa Group to take this step and the trail marks a major chapter towards making future travel simple and reliable again during the Covid-19 pandemic. The airline has also been testing further such concepts since mid-March.
The new IATA Travel Pass app enables travellers to check up on the up-to-date coronavirus-related entry provisions for their country of destination. Travellers COVID-19 test results can also be sent directly to the app. This in turn enables travellers to demonstrate to airlines and authorities that they meet the relevant entry requirements, without having to reveal further information about their personal health. The implementation of the app is also expected to bring greater speed and efficiency to the corresponding airport procedures.
The most stringent data protection requirements are met by the new IATA Travel Pass app and the health details of its users will remain on the app. At no point will the details be transmitted or centrally stored, which should reassure users of total control over all their personal data. Singapore authorities have already accepted the IATA Travel Pass as an official health document.
“We support all endeavours to make travel simple and reliable again during the coronavirus pandemic,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “Digital health documents like the IATA Travel Pass are making an invaluable contribution to reconciling the demand for mobility with the need for health protection, to make it easier for our customers to plan their journeys with confidence and to restore the trust in travel as a whole. We still consider it essential that consistent, unified and mobility-promoting parameters are established and maintained, along with internationally recognized and standardized processes to deliver digital test and vaccination certifications. This is the only way to ensure that Switzerland can retain the international links that are so vital to the country in economic terms.”
SWISS is currently evaluating the use of further digital solutions such as the EU Green Pass and the CommonPass in addition to the IATA Travel Pass.
Alongside these options, since mid-March trials have been conducted on its Newark (USA)-Zurich route and since the start of April on flights from Zurich to Spain and Portugal – under which travellers on SWISS can upload their COVID test results to the swiss.com website up to 12 hours before starting their trip. The data uploaded will then be verified by the airline so that the traveller will know before their departure whether they meet the official entry requirements of the country they are flying to. The current trials here should be extended to further SWISS routes, too.
At present, the use of the IATA Travel Pass app and these digital document checks is optional. SWISS travellers are being informed of all such options available to them in advance of their travel.