Airlines to begin Blockchain-based COVID-19 passports trials in February

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A blockchain-based digital passport with travelers’ COVID-19 test and vaccination status will be piloted next month. The International Air Transport Association is about to introduce a blockchain-based passport that will digitally store personal health information, especially COVID-19 test and vaccination status.

The International Air Transport Association said this move could reopen the world and relax current global quarantine restrictions. The “health passport” is stored in the form of an application on the user’s smartphone that is expected to be carried out in the first actual test. As soon as possible in February.

The app is reportedly called IATA Travel Pass and is designed to give travelers complete control over their data. It can also serve as a two-way communication tool to send information to relevant governments, vaccination centers and airlines.

Four major Airlines to begin testing

So far, four major airlines have signed the plan. Singapore Airlines and British Airways plan to begin testing in February, while Etihad and Emirates are currently expected to begin testing in April.

Alan Murray Hayden, director of airport, passenger and security products at the International Air Transport Association, praised the use of “powerful” blockchain technology in the program, adding that it was the technology to date, one of the few implementation methods with obvious ones positive effects:

“This is the beauty of the technology we’re using; it puts the passenger in complete control of their data. There’s no central database and nobody can hack it. The passenger owns their data and they share it with the airline. It’s so powerful and it’s probably one of the first-ever examples of blockchain technology being implemented in a way that benefits people.”

The passport contains four main interactive components: a digital passport module, a laboratory application that allows data to be securely sent via the testing laboratory and application itself, the registration form for a global vaccination center and international travelers at a specific point in time, a global registration of the latest health requirements required.

Hayden said if the health and vaccination status of potential passengers meet international requirements, passengers are good choices.“So, now passengers have three key things on their phone — their digital passports, test results and what we call an ‘okay to travel’.

Passengers can then choose whether to share this data on the airline app. They will be prompted to submit their data and if they click on submit it will be sent to the airline. This is simple from a passenger perspective — literally with the click of a couple of buttons the airline now has all passenger’s details, and they’re 100% sure that the passenger is okay to fly.” From the first quarter of 2021, Etihad Airways passengers will fly from Abu Dhabi and will be the first to use digital passports.