SIA trials app for Covid-19 test booking and check-in

SIA is the world's first airline to use IATA's Travel Pass in a trial.
SIA is the world's first airline to use IATA's Travel Pass in a trial.PHOTO: IATA

SINGAPORE - Travellers flying with Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be able to view their Covid-19 test results and use them to check in at Changi Airport with a single app, potentially paving the way for travel without stay-home notice and quarantine.

The software has been developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to make travel more seamless amid the pandemic. It works by integrating Covid-19 testing with passengers' boarding credentials.

SIA is the world's first airline to use IATA's Travel Pass in a trial, which will begin with passengers flying from Singapore to London from March 15 to 28. If this proves a success, the app could could be rolled out globally.

SIA said on Monday (March 8) that the trial could allow it to use the framework for its own SingaporeAir mobile app as early as mid-2021.

"Participants will have full control over how their personal information is shared, as the data is stored locally in the mobile phone and not in any central database. This is critical, given the highly sensitive nature of health data," it said.

There are currently seven participating clinics in Singapore where passengers can book their tests for the trial on an online portal.

IATA will provide the back-end information on entry requirements so doctors and passengers can meet them for their flights.

Because of current regulatory requirements, they will still have to bring a physical copy of their health certificate issued by the clinic to the airport.

It should be on a voluntary basis, with those with mobile phones running on Apple's iOS operating system invited to download the app on their phones.

Mr Nick Careen, IATA's senior vice-president of airport, passenger, cargo and security, said the trial could put SIA passengers "at the front of the queue" for future travel.

The latest trial is the second phase of SIA's IATA trial. The first was in December last year, where those who took their Covid-19 tests at selected clinics in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur were given health certificates with a QR code.

Check-in staff at the airport and Singapore's immigration authority then verified the certificates using a mobile app.

More than 200 health certificates have been verified this way, with no fraudulent certificates detected, SIA said.

Separately, Singapore is working towards having all clinics that are authorised to conduct pre-departure Covid-19 tests be able to issue digital test result certificates by Wednesday.

This will be based on an open-source framework called HealthCerts, which will allow the digital certificates to be endorsed by the Ministry of Health so they can be recognised at airports both locally and overseas.

The Straits Times understands that GovTech is working to make HealthCerts interoperable with IATA's travel pass.