As the aviation industry restarts after more than a year of slowing passenger numbers, the IATA Travel Pass becomes a crucial initiative in this next chapter. Airlines around the world have introduced the mobile app to help travelers store and manage their information during the pandemic, but how does the tool actually work?

A new climate

Governments around the world have implemented a series of strict travel restrictions since the global health crisis escalated last year. The conditions have grounded fleets and forced millions to stay where they are, preventing them from seeing loved ones or traveling for work for months.


These restrictions have slowly eased. However, several requirements are still in place to ensure that passengers travel safely in the current situation. With the opening of borders, the spread of the virus must be controlled. Therefore, requirements such as tests and vaccinations must be met in order to fly.

Follow the requirements

To facilitate the recording of this information, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched its Travel Pass. Airlines initially began testing the app to upload COVID test details and related information. However, trials have begun to extend use to include vaccination records. Following successful testing, governments have gained the confidence to accept the use of the app for all their passengers.

Saudi Arabia
Saudia offers four nonstop routes to the United States: Jeddah and Riyadh to JFK and Dulles. Photo: Getty Images

Notably, recently, IATA announced that it has integrated acceptance of digital vaccine certifications issued by the European Union and the United Kingdom into the application. As a result, it is now easier for travelers to prove their vaccination status when travelling.

Overall, the platform is an efficient way to prove test results and vaccination status than paper-based processes. The authorities can verify the authenticity of the documents and the identity of the persons in possession of the laissez-passer. Ultimately, travelers benefit from having their key post-COVID travel details in one place.

IATA Travel Pass
At a time when airlines and airports want to reduce unnecessary touchpoints, the IATA Travel Pass also helps reduce paper transfers. Photo: IATA

Basic features

There are four main modules for the IATA Travel Pass:

Register of sanitary requirements

This segment allows travelers to find information about travel, testing, and vaccine requirements.

Register of screening and vaccination centers

Here, passengers can locate centers and laboratories at their places of departure and/or arrival.

Lab app

This feature allows authorized test centers or laboratories to securely send vaccination certificates or test results to travellers.

Travel Pass App

The app gives passengers the ability to:

  • Create a “digital passport”.
  • Check their vaccination and/or test.
  • Share their vaccination or test result through integration into passenger management systems.

Above all, Travel Pass does not store any data centrally. It only links entities that require verification to test or vaccination data when passengers allow it. All in all, the airline customer must give the green light to check. If the traveler chooses to do so, the data is sent directly from their mobile device to an airline or government.

IATA Travel Pass Overview
The IATA Travel Pass app keeps all relevant entities connected regarding health requirements during passenger travel. Photo: IATA

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The right support

To improve the digital pass, IATA is working closely with Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies. The company uses its broad presence in the aviation industry to help streamline integration with Travel Pass.

As a leader in high integrity solutions, Collins Aerospace underscores this by using connections from a carrier’s host systems to seamlessly send passenger itinerary data to the Travel Pass application. Using the company’s TransAction service, this process matches itineraries against destination conditions and coronavirus health results to determine if a passenger is “OK to travel.” Importantly, the same connections can then be used to update the operator’s host system with that status.

With this managed service, ongoing integration support and maintenance is covered by Collins Aerospace. Thus, the connection process can continue to be reliable as the challenges of the aviation industry continue to evolve.

IATA notes that Collins’ tool helps operators catalyze adoption of the app through the ease of integration. Ultimately, as the world continues to grapple with the impact of the pandemic, additional support from Collins will go a long way.

“More than half of the world’s borders have some sort of travel restriction in place, but we view the rollout of vaccination and testing measures as positive steps towards restoring international air travel,” shares Jennifer Schopfer, president of Connected Aviation Solutions. “With the use of Collins Aerospace technology, Travel Pass will enable the secure flow of information to ensure passengers know the health requirements for their trip, and for airlines to confirm that these requirements have been met. “

Collins Aerospace IATA Travel Pass
Collins Aerospace helps the program integrate with airline systems. Photo: Collins Aerospace

Look forward

More than 60 carriers have registered to use the IATA Travel Pass. More people are getting back on the air as borders slowly open in many key regions. For air travel to continue in the right direction, carriers and the wider market must show that the new government conditions can be managed effectively. Thus, the Travel Pass will occupy a vital place in the next stage and beyond.

Airlines and passengers alike would dread another dark age of travel, as we have seen over the past year and a half. Overall, initiatives such as the IATA Travel Pass will prove invaluable in the mission of continuing safe and efficient operations.

What do you think of the IATA Travel Pass? Have you had the opportunity to try the application on the go? Let us know what you think of the initiative in the comments section.

This article was sponsored by Collins Aerospace.

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