Digital Health

Singapore Airlines offers ‘COVID passports’ for safe travel; all about health certificates

Last Updated: 24th December, 2020 19:53 IST

Singapore Airlines announced that new digital verification at the airports will enable air carriers to screen passengers’ health faster and in more secure way.


Flag carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) on December 23 announced the launch of an app that acts like a Digital Health Passport which will carry information about a passenger’s COVID-19 negative diagnosis and vaccination for easy passage through the airport. Dubbed as the ‘COVID-19 passport’, the systemic framework was designed by Singaporean firms SGInnovate and Accredify.

According to a statement by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency GovTech, the app will provide relief to the aviation industry as the flyers will now be able to easily verify healthcare records instead of undergoing screening, long waits for testing if they are found symptomatic, and paperwork complication at the airports. The COVID-19 digital passport has a verifiable travel credential standard approved by Singapore’s HealthCert.

In an official press release, Singapore Airlines announced that the new digital health verification process at the airports will enable the air carriers to screen passengers’ health “faster and in a more secure manner”. According to CNA, Singapore Airlines on December 23 started the app trial for SIA flights from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. Passengers who got tested negative in either of the two cities were handed a digital certificate with a QR code that they were instructed to scan at the airport. Singapore’s airlines’ check-in crew and the immigration authority scanned the codes that led into the app providing the passenger’s health details. The procedure also helped the airport officials to determine the authenticity of the certificates in the initial trials.

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SIA’s acting senior vice president of marketing planning, JoAnn Tan, said in the release that the framework will also easier travel and faster health verification by listing details such as COVID-19 tests and immunization of the passengers. She added that digital passports will be an integral part of air travel for the foreseeable future. She further ensured that the new digital passports support the aviation industry’s ‘safe and calibrated recovery’.

IATA partnered ‘safe health travel pass’

SIA plans to introduce the digital passports across all cities around mid-2021 on successful tests of the trials. The air carrier has partnered with the Ministry of Transport, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, and Changi Airport Group and IATA. SIA’s COVID-19 passport is the world’s first implemented system of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). IATA begun trials for the digital travel pass called the ‘CommonPass’ digital health passport early in October and will expand use by December end with JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic for flights departing to New York, Boston, London, and Hong Kong.

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First Published: 24th December, 2020 19:55 IST

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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