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Biometric standards for air travel released

Biometric standards for air travel released

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has unveiled standards to facilitate international air travel using digital IDs and biometrics.

The standards — “Recommended Practice on Digitalization of Admissibility” — are a collaborative effort of several airlines working under the One ID initiative.

According to an IATA blog post, while several airlines are already using biometrics to process travelers, passengers still often have to prove their eligibility, or admissibility, to travel at a check-in desk or boarding gate.

The new standard aims to progress the development of One ID with a mechanism for passengers to obtain all necessary pre-travel authorizations before their trip and directly from governments in the form of a biometrically-secured digital ID.

“By enabling passengers to prove their admissibility to their airline before they get to the airport, we are taking a major step forward,” comments Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for operations, safety and security.

Careen notes the recent IATA global passenger survey found that 83 percent were willing to share immigration information for expedited processing, up from 73 percent in 2021. 

“That is why we are confident this will be a popular option for travelers when it is implemented. And there is a good incentive for airlines and governments as well with improved data quality, streamlined resourcing requirements and identification of admissibility issues before passengers get to the airport,” Careen adds.

IATA claims the new standards will enable passengers to keep control of their data. Verified approvals, not the data behind them, being shared without the need for intermediaries.

The standards will help airlines and governments as well, he says. The rules will improve data quality, streamline resourcing requirements and other issues by preparing passengers prior to arriving at an airport, he says.

“While a government may request detailed personal information to issue a visa, the only information that will be shared with the airline is that the traveler has a visa and under which conditions,” explains Louise Cole, IATA’s head of customer experience and facilitation.

“No large databases are being built that need protecting. By design, we are building simplicity, security and convenience,” Cole says.

IATA says the standard is interoperable with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) own standards, including for the Digital Travel Credential.

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