The partnership is said to be a bid to simplify the verification of passengers' health credentials during the boarding process, the companies said in a joint statement today.
Digital collaboration in adversity
Adversely affected by the past 18 months, the aviation, tourism and tech sectors have deepened their collaboration since the pandemic started, introducing a host of new digital applications and products that have sprung up in response to a global patchwork of restrictions and requisites to travel.
The IBM system uses encryption and blockchain technologies to authenticate diagnostic tests such as antigen, or PCR and assigns passengers a QR code which then indicates whether it thinks they are fit to fly. This is rather than passengers needing attendants at boarding gates to hand-verify the details of each traveler’s test.
Greg Land, head of IBM’s travel and transportation sector, said this digital approach would help airlines feel confident that the health credentials added are valid and would also take the expectation off the gate agents having to verify health documents. He added it also protected individual privacy, since only a QR code that reflects the individuals’ status, ie ‘ready to fly’ is displayed when it is scanned.
Digital data privacy a concern
By integrating IBM’s Digital Health Pass into its Traveler ID system, Amadeus hopes to reassure passengers about the safety of their medical data, which the booking group says will neither be stored nor tracked, which has been a major concern by many travelers.
Amadeus had launched Traveler ID earlier in the year as a white-label product for airlines looking to include the use of health credentials on their website or apps, so that passengers could upload their health documents directly within their reservation systems. Amadeus says Traveler ID has 10 airlines as live clients at the moment, six of which are publicly announced and include Air Canada, Norwegian and Spain’s Air Europa, which British Airways’ owner, IAG is in the process of acquiring.
According to Reuters, IBM’s newly-integrated service will be available as an add-on for all ten of Amadeus’ Traveler ID subscribers.