Future of Travel – Arriving at the Airport Ready to Fly!

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The world is full of possibilities. Exciting things waiting to happen, and adventures ready to unfold. If you’re an avid traveller, you would want to know that in the future, you can arrive at the airport, all sorted and ready to fly. What do we mean by that? Read on…

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed industry standards which will bring the aim of having travellers arrive at airports ready-to-fly one step closer to reality. The newly released Recommended Practice on Digitalisation of Admissibility will enable travellers to digitally prove admissibility to an international destination, avoiding a stop at the check-in desk or boarding gate for document checks.  

Under the One ID initiative airlines are working with IATA to digitalise the passenger experience at airports with contactless biometric-enabled processes.  

Programmes are already in use in various airports enabling travellers to move through airport processes such as boarding without producing paper documentation because their boarding pass is linked to a biometric identifier. But in many cases travellers would still have to prove their admissibility at a check-in desk or boarding gate with physical checks of paper documentation (passports, visas and health credentials for example). 

The Digitalisation of Admissibility standard will advance the realisation of One ID with a mechanism for passengers to digitally obtain all necessary pre-travel authorisations directly from governments before their trip. By sharing the “OK to Fly” status with their airline, travellers can avoid all on-airport document checks. 

Passengers want technology to make travel simpler. By enabling passengers to prove their admissibility to their airline before they get to the airport, we are taking a major step forward. The recent IATA Global Passenger survey found that 83% of travellers are willing to share immigration information for expedited processing. That is why we are confident this will be a popular option for travellers when it is implemented. And there is good incentive for airlines and governments as well with improved data quality, streamlined resourcing requirements and identification of admissibility issues before passengers get to the airport,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security. 

A man is holding a small globe in his hands and at the backdrop are mountains - a metaphorical or representative pic to symbolise future of air travel
The future of air travel holds several exciting possibilities for travellers

What travellers will be able to do in future: 

  1. Create a verified digital identity using their airline app on their smart phone  
  2. Using their digital identity, they can send proof of all required documentation to destination authorities in advance of travel 
  3. Receive a digital ‘approval of admissibility’ in their digital identity/passport app
  4. Share the verified credential (not all their data) with their airline 
  5. Receive confirmation from their airline that all is in order and go to the airport 

What about data security?

The new standards have been developed to protect passengers’ data and ensure that travel remains accessible to all. Passengers remain in control of their data and only credentials (verified approvals, not the data behind them) are shared peer-to-peer (with no intermediating party). This is interoperable with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) standards, including those for the Digital Travel Credential. Manual processing options will be retained so that travellers will have the ability to opt out of digital admissibility processing. 

Travellers can be confident that this process will be both convenient and secure. A key point is that information is shared on a need-to-know basis. While a government may request detailed personal information to issue a visa, the only information that will be shared with the airline is that the traveller has a visa and under which conditions. And by keeping the passenger in control of their own data, no large databases are being built that need protecting. By design we are building simplicity, security and convenience,” said Louise Cole, IATA’s Head Customer Experience and Facilitation. 


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