HomeNewsIATA: Arriving at the Airport 'Ready to Fly' One Step Closer

IATA: Arriving at the Airport ‘Ready to Fly’ One Step Closer

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. 

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 

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. 

Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah is a media and content professional with over a decade of experience in both print as well as digital. She pursues her love of a good story and storytelling by writing features, blogs, essays and interviews.
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