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IATA endorses EU COVID certificate for global digital health pass standard

IATA endorses EU COVID certificate for global digital health pass standard

Europe’s Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) is being held up as a potential global standard for digital health passes by the International Air Transport Association.

IATA has its own Travel Pass, which supports the DCC, but praised the speed with which the European Commission delivered the DCC, and its satisfaction of what the group sees as several key criteria.

The DCC’s flexible format, with both digital and paper versions, the inclusion of a QR code containing essential information and a digital signature for authentication, and its verification and digital identity authentication capabilities make the DCC effective, according to the announcement. The EU provides a gateway for the authentication of signatures on certificates granted by EU issuers or other authorities, as well as a specification for machine readable validation rules.

Conrad Clifford, deputy director general of IATA, suggests the EU DCC could be used as a “blueprint” by other countries attempting to facilitate a return to normal levels of air traffic.

The EU DCC is implemented in 27 EU member states, and accepted through reciprocal agreements by Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine. IATA says up to 60 countries are looking into using the DCC specification for their own certificates, in the absence of a global standard.

The trade group represents 290 airlines which make up 82 percent of global air traffic, so IATA could in theory create a de-facto global standard for international travel. The Association is offering to collaborate with the European Commission and interested states to integrate the DCC.

Asia struggles to open borders

Significant differences in vaccination rates and other factors between Asian countries meanwhile poses a major barrier to regional harmonization on international travel, writes Nikkei Asia.

Korea recently became the first country to exempt travelers who received a Chinese-developed vaccine, and while Japan has begun issuing vaccine certificates and asked other countries to exempt its travelers from travel restrictions, it has not lifted restrictions for those arriving in the country from elsewhere in Asia. Vaccination rates in many Asian countries are low, and governments have largely sealed off borders to try to keep the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 under control.

Nikkei suggests that countries in Asia want to restore international business travel, however, raising the likelihood that the regions’ governments will accept an approach from a private sector group with the influence to impose some uniformity; a group like IATA.

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