AviationThe latest Air Transport IT Insights report reveals 33% of airlines have enabled mobile apps while 51% will implement such technology by 2024.

Airlines tackle pain points of passenger health verification with automation

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33% of airlines have enabled mobile apps, according to SITA’s Air Transport IT Insights 2021.
33% of airlines have enabled mobile apps, according to SITA’s Air Transport IT Insights 2021. Photo Credit: gettyimages/Jovanmandic

One-third of airlines have enabled mobile apps while 51% will implement such technology by 2024, according to SITA’s Air Transport IT Insights 2021 report.

The pandemic and its resulting reign of confusion in international travel has led the aviation industry to address the issue of health verification moving forward.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) was the first airline last year to pilot IATA's Travel Pass, starting with passengers travelling from Singapore to London in March. It marked the second stage of SIA's digital health verification process trials, and has smoothly enabled the successful health certificate verifications of passengers to date.

For GDS Amadeus, enhancing its Traveler ID platform was key. The platform connects various health certification touchpoints end to end, and integrates the multiple stakeholders involved.

Airlines and airports are directly plugged into the platform from their own digital channels. It facilitates ease of use as passengers are able to use it prior to departure; at the airport; while checking in at the airline desk or self-service kiosk; and at the bag drop.

Lufthansa is one of the airlines that has partnered Amadeus to enable digital health verification. The airline is able to verify health documents using the Amadeus Airport Companion App, which allows staff to assist travellers from anywhere in the airport. This is part of the Traveler ID platform, which is used by 11 airlines as of late 2021.

A current 4% of carriers offer health-certificate verification via kiosk. By 2024, this will significantly spike to 84% of airlines expected to offer a vaccine passport app. 49% are expected to verify health documents via kiosk, according to SITA's report.

IATA has repeatedly sounded out the need to streamline and eliminate the confusion over health verification for international travel. Last year, it rolled out the IATA Travel Pass through these six airlines: Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Jazeera Airways, Jetstar, Qantas, Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian.

The report also revealed that 84% of airlines and 81% of airports intend to spend the same or more in 2022 as compared to 2021 spend. Investment in the automation of passenger processing sees the highest increase.

Investment in biometrics will be a major part of this investment, with 59% of airports planning to have biometrically-enabled international departure, while 51% expect to have biometrically-enabled international arrival by 2024.

Currently, 24% of airports report having biometrically-enabled, ticketless, self-boarding gates, with 62% of airports expecting to implement the technology by 2024.

SITA’s report results came from airlines that collectively represented 30% of global air traffic in 2019 as well as from 161 airports that collectively represented 30% of global passenger traffic that year.

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