Ai Editorial: A vaccination status isn’t going to be enough. The significance of testing can’t be ignored as this juncture.
8th April, 2021
Airlines and hotels are increasingly looking at adoption of digital health credential apps, trialing initiatives to support a traveller’s journey. The move could be about paving way for display information on a customer’s digital device, including COVID-19 test results, or facilitating a contactless and seamless check-in process via an app.
Despite these initiatives, a number of questions still need to be answered – be it for the criteria for travel (is only negative COVID test enough?), acceptance of health verification apps etc.
During a webinar today, Clive Bourke, Daon, a biometric authentication and identity assurance solutions provider, explained the utility of apps featuring documents, which allow a traveler to manage their own COVID-19 test results and also share other necessary documents required by the country of destination, prior to their journey.
It was also discussed during the webinar that a vaccination status isn’t going to be enough, at least at this juncture, as stated by Peter Gerstle, Collinson. This is owing to several factors – one being averse to vaccination, no guarantee that one who has been vaccinated can’t be a carrier of the virus etc. In this context, the role of testing can’t be undermined. Gerstle referred to the significance of “Vax + Test” and integrating that into the travel experience, working with airlines, airports and the rest of the supply chain.
Importantly, 88% of the audience (consisting mainly of airline executives) that attended the webinar, voted in a poll that a negative Covid test should be sufficient for international travel. They indicated that they support people having the right to travel if they choose not to be vaccinated for whatever reason.
Other panelists who participated in the webinar:
Moderator: Christopher Staab
Usage of apps
A topic that was discussed during the webinar was which app to count on as an airline? What about inter-operability? There is a lot of confusion as far as standardization of the overall digital health verification process is concerned.
Daon’s app, VeriFLY, is already in practical use for select U.S. routes. By reviewing the registered information, VeriFLY will display a ready to travel status, which enables the check-in process to become seamless. As it emerged earlier this month, Japan Airlines (JAL) is set to begin participating in trials with three industry leading digital health credential apps – CommonPass, VeriFLY, and IATA Travel Pass – as it moves toward plans for adoption on international flights. VeriFLY has more than 300,000 active users in 55 countries.
In the hospitality sector, Hyatt Hotels is exploring VeriFLY + Stay, a mobile health passport. The team will work closely with meeting planners to identify criteria for meeting attendees, which could include presenting a recent negative COVID-19 test. The criteria can then be communicated to attendees in the VeriFLY mobile app prior to arrival so they can fulfill their requirements and complete all necessary forms, stated the company.
The IATA Travel Pass will help passengers manage their travel in line with government requirements for COVID-19 tests or vaccines.
The Travel Pass consists of four modules – a global registry of health requirements, a global registry of testing/vaccination centers, a lab app to securely share test and vaccination certificates with passengers, and a contactless travel app which enables passengers to create a digital passport and manage their travel documentation digitally, as per the information available. It is being assured that travelers remain in control of their data with their privacy protected as the IATA Travel pass does not store any data centrally.
By Ritesh Gupta, Ai Team
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