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Singapore Airlines to test ‘COVID-19 passport’ on London flights

Singapore Airlines to test ‘COVID-19 passport’ on London flights
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Written by Harry Johnson

The decision to pilot the app on flights to London will likely raise eyebrows in the UK, where there is currently a heated debate about plans to introduce a health passport for international travel

  • Airline will test IATA Travel Pass mobile application on flights from Singapore to London between March 15-28
  • The app allows travelers to create a digital ID consisting of a photograph and passport details
  • If successful, the airline will allow integration of the Travel Pass system into Singapore Airlines’ mobile app

Singapore Airlines has announced that it will test the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass mobile application, also known as ‘COVID-19 passport’ on flights from Singapore to London between March 15-28.

The carrier will be using a mobile app that verifies passengers’ COVID-19 status, as part of a pilot program for a health passport that could be adopted around the world.

IATA‘s mobile app allows travelers to create a digital ID consisting of a photograph and passport details. Singapore Airlines passengers will be asked to visit one of seven participating clinics in Singapore that can provide the necessary digital certification used by the app.

Participants will need to present their digital ID, as well as a physical copy of their COVID-19 test results, to check-in staff before being allowed on the plane. The airline billed the app as a fast and convenient way to store health details while stressing that the data is secure and not kept in any central database.

If deemed successful, the pilot program will allow for the integration of the Travel Pass system into Singapore Airlines’ mobile app starting later this year, with the expectation that it will be used for all flights with the carrier.

Singapore Airlines launched the first phase of its health certification trials in December. Passengers traveling from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur to Singapore were asked to receive COVID-19 tests and were then given QR codes, which were presented at check-in.

In a press release announcing the first phase of the trials, the airline said that COVID-19 tests and vaccinations will be “an integral part” of air travel going forward and that a new digital health ID would create a “more seamless experience” for customers amid “the new normal.” In the future, Travel Pass will also be able to verify vaccination status. 

International Air Transport Association announced in November that it was working on the app as a way to reboot international travel amid the pandemic. Several airlines have already expressed support for the digital ID, including Qantas Airways, which said it plans to make proof of COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all international passengers traveling to and from Australia. The company’s CEO, Alan Joyce, also speculated that digital health passports would become a requirement worldwide.

The decision to pilot the app on flights to London will likely raise eyebrows in the UK, where there is currently a heated debate about plans to introduce a health passport for international travel.