Arriving at the airport without lengthy check-in and security procedures could be a closer reality than we think.

The IATA has updated industry standards stipulating the requirements of biometric-enabled technology in airports and in the advanced passenger experience.

An extension of the One ID initiative, which was devised between airlines and the IATA to digitalise the passenger journey, the recommendations will also enable complete airport procedures quicker and more seamlessly to any international destination without having to carry and physical documents like passports.

The digital passenger journey is often considered to start from when a passenger shares advanced identity information through to being processed at every biometric touchpoint in the airport.

While we have not seen the complete departure from paper documents, boarding passes can be connected to biometric identifiers, as well as passports alone.

The Digitalisation of Admissibility practice incorporates a clear mechanism to be able to obtain necessary digital documents prior to departure.

Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security, reiterated the top demand of passengers: making travel simpler.

He said” “By enabling passengers to prove their admissibility to their airline before they get to the airport, we are taking a major step forward”.

It has been a permeated myth that because passengers desire more seamless journeys, providing advanced immigration data before travel is an inconvenience.

The recent Global Passenger survey conducted by IATA found that in fact 83% of travellers are willing to share pre-information to prove their identity for expedited processing.

He continued: “That is why we are confident this (seamless travel) will be a popular option for travellers when it is implemented. And there is 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”.

Louise Cole, IATA’s Head Customer Experience and Facilitation said the standards reach a consensus over allowing passengers to be fully in control of their own data. Data would only be requested for visa applications on a “need-to-know basis” and large databases “need protecting”.

“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”.

Passengers would be instructed to declare their “OK to Fly” status with their airline.

In the years ahead, passengers will have more digital admin options to prove who they are before travel, including:

  • Create a verifiable digital identity on their smart phone using their airline app.
  • Using their digital identity to send required authentication documents to authorities in advance of travel
  • Receive a digital approval of admission in their digital identity app.
  • Share their verified ID credential with the airline, omitting any sharing of personal data.
  • Receive confirmation from their airline to travel

The Digitalisation of Admissibility correlates with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standards, including for the Digital Travel Credential.

Digital processing will not eliminate manual procedures either so some passengers can opt out of digital admissibility processing.