Although blockchain technology became known as a result of cryptocurrencies, it is important to note that its application includes other areas and sectors, for example, recently the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that in the current year 2021, it will be implemented (as a test), a new digital passport called IATA Travel Pass, which is based on Blockchain technology and will have the status of the Covid-19 tests and information on the vaccination status of the passengers.

The origin of the initiative

This project is an initiative of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which will launch the passport based on the blockchain (blockchain technology). All the health information of its passengers will be stored digitally, specifically Covid-19 tests and vaccines. According to IATA, the international market can be reopened in this way, and many of the restrictions imposed by quarantine at a global level can be reduced. The health passport is stored on the person’s smartphone in the form of an application; the first tests in the world are expected to start in the first quarter of 2021.

The IATA Travel Pass application aims to give passengers full control over their personal data and standardize health screening processes at airports and commercial airlines; this application also acts as a two-way communication tool. It transmits information to passengers: governments, commercial airlines, and vaccination centers. Only 4 airlines have joined this initiative, British Airways and Singapore Airlines, which plan to start the first phase of tests in February, while Etihad and Emirates airlines will do so in April.

Blockchain technology

The implementation of new technologies, such as digital health passports, entails a series of challenges, including the protection of users’ personal data. It is important to note that the IATA Travel Pass uses blockchain technology, which guarantees a decentralized system. There is no central database that can be hacked or compromised to access the personal information of users. According to Alan Murray Hayden (Head of Airports, Passenger Products, and Security at IATA), “This is the beauty of the technology we are using; since it puts the passenger in total control of his data. There is no central database, and no one can breach it. The passenger owns his personal data and shares it with the airline. It’s so powerful, and it’s probably one of the earliest examples of implementing blockchain technology in a way that benefits people. “

IATA Travel Pass

The IATA Travel Pass will have four main interactive components: the digital passport module; a laboratory application that gives the possibility to send data safely through test laboratories and the application itself; a global registry of vaccination centers and finally, a global registry of up-to-date health requirements (which are required of international travelers at all times). If the passenger complies with the health requirements of being in good health and having vaccines (which are international requirements), he will make his trip without problems.

Greater peace of mind for the Passenger

The passenger will have on his mobile phone three things that are key to travel: his digital passport, the results of his health tests, and the approval to travel. The passenger decides whether to share his personal data in the airline’s application; in this case, they will only ask him to send his data, and when he clicks “send,” these data will reach the airline. All this allows greater peace of mind and control for the passenger during his international trips.

What do you think about this topic? What do you think about these passports that use blockchain technology? Do you think blockchain technology will be applied to other branches or areas soon?

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Image by JoshuaWonniecki via under Creative Commons license.

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