Singapore Airlines believes digital health passes will enable seamless airport check-ins

IATA's digital travel passport might be used to verify passenger health status, but it could also help eliminate queues at airport counters.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Singapore Airlines IT SVP George Wang has said that while the main application for the International Airport Transport Association's (IATA) digital travel pass will be to verify passengers' health status, it could also speed up check-ins for flights at airports.

"I think digital health pass is one way to help make travel seamless for customers," Wang said during Salesforce's virtual Dreamforce conference on Wednesday.

"At the same time, to help operation be very efficient -- so that when you're using digital health pass for check-in, for example -- our backend system has already marked all these things that you don't really need to go to the airport for, [such as] queuing at the counter, which would increase the risk.

"Digital health pass is just not an app; it needs to be more than just an app that a customer can see because it needs to integrate with your backend operation."

In March, Singapore Airline announced it was going to pilot the IATA's travel pass mobile application, starting with passengers from Singapore to London.

The pass has been designed to enable authorised labs and test centres to share COVID-19 test vaccination certificates that will be used to verify they have met appropriate travel requirements, which could then be shared with airlines and authorities. The IATA has previously claimed the pass would enable international borders to reopen safely and allow overseas travel to resume.

Other airlines that are looking into integrating the IATA app into their systems include Qantas and Air New Zealand.

In a bid to further simplify the flying experience for passengers, Wang highlighted how the airline also recently introduced its KrisShop e-commerce platform to its inflight entertainment system.

Singapore Airlines said it worked with Thales, Panasonic Avionics, and AirFree to connect the two systems together, which enables live updates on product availability and credit card authorisation. Passengers are able to purchase from 4,000 products and organise for delivery to their home, hotel, or the seat of their next connecting flight, according to Wang.

The service has been initially rolled out on selected Airbus A350 aircraft, and will be progressively rolled out across the Singapore Airlines network. 

On Wednesday, Inmarsat also announced the launch of OneFi, a platform designed specifically for airlines so that passengers can order food and beverages, purchase seat upgrades, receive the latest flight and destination information, and sign-up to an airline's frequent flyer program in real-time from their seat, through a single portal using their own personal devices. In addition, passengers can browse the internet, stream videos and audio, and shop online using inflight broadband, if it's available, through the platform as well. 

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