Scheduled from January 2021, the deployment of anti-Covid vaccines will undoubtedly make health applications compulsory for travelers and accelerate the adoption of the dematerialized passport.
Anti-Covid-19 vaccines should be available in early 2021, but air travel will only resume if passengers can easily prove, upon boarding, that they have been vaccinated. Hence the urgency, highlighted The Telegraph : develop digital health passports that are secure enough to be recognized around the world.
A code QR as a vaccination certificate
An application such as CommonPass, designed by The Commons Project, a ONG based in Switzerland, whose initiative is supported by the World Economic Forum, could be the solution, according to Brad Perkins, doctor in charge of the project and former director of strategy and innovation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the USA :
As vaccines become widely available, many countries will require travelers to show proof of vaccination upon arrival. We created CommonPass to allow sharing of Covid test and vaccination results in a secure manner while maintaining confidentiality. ”
CommonPass evaluates the mandatory tests according to the passenger’s destination, downloads the results transmitted by an approved laboratory to their phone and generates a code QR scannable. The application was tested last October on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Singapore, then on a United Airlines London-Newark flight, magazine reports CondéNast Traveller. On arrival in New York on October 21, Paul Meyer, CEO from Common Project, explained:
We are already working with many airlines and we are planning a series of new tests in November and December in Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. We are building a network of accredited or certified laboratories and healthcare facilities around the world. The large-scale deployment of CommonPass is slated for early next year. ”
Guarantee the condentiality of health data
The widespread use of this type of application would mark the end of paper vaccination certificates, which are less reliable and do not allow online registration. Another advantage, according to Paul Meyer, an application such as CommonPass guarantees data confidentiality:
We don’t think people should be forced to hand over their personal health data to an airline or government just because they want to travel. With CommonPass, this information will remain under the control of the data subject. The platform will verify that a passenger has been tested [ou vacciné], but the information will not be stored or passed on to third parties. ”
In the long term, the stake is vital for air transport, underlines The Telegraph : “The day when the coronavirus ceases to represent a major threat, health passports will undoubtedly remain essential because of the increase in infectious diseases and fear of new pandemics.”
No more paper passport
As for the paper passport, it is likely that many international travelers will hesitate to handle it after it has passed through registration, boarding and immigration services, “Now that we know what a pandemic is”, underlines the chronicler of Financial Times Mickael Skapinker:
Our travel procedures, largely based on paper documents, do not cope with the health crisis, not only because they require too much handling and verification, but also because they contain too little information. ”
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association was already working on a digital passport. According to this project, titled One ID, the passenger will provide in advance the biometric information that will allow him to check in, board and pass immigration on arrival without anyone asking for any document.
The possible objections are legion, recognizes Mickael Skapinker. They relate in particular to facial recognition, confidentiality and the reliability of airport systems. All deserve consideration. “But travel has relied on paper documents for decades. The current parenthesis should be an opportunity for air transport to reinvent itself. ”
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