Airline body IATA develops mobile apps for COVID-era travel

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A plane prepares to land at the Nantes Atlantique airport in Bouguenais

PARIS (Reuters) - Global aviation body IATA is developing a set of mobile apps to help passengers to navigate COVID-19 travel restrictions and securely share test and vaccine certificates with airlines and governments, it said on Monday.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents many of the world's major airlines, plans to pilot the Travel Pass platform by year-end and deploy it for Android and Apple iOS phones in the first half of next year.

Airlines are pressing governments to replace traffic-stifling quarantine requirements with systematic COVID-19 testing, with some success.

"Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely," IATA security chief Nick Careen said. "That means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements."

Passenger health and other data are not stored centrally but authenticated with blockchain, leaving consumers in control of what they share, IATA said.

A new "Contactless Travel" app will combine passport information with test and vaccination certificates received from participating labs. It will also draw on global registries of health requirements and testing and vaccination centres.

The platform is built on open source standards to help interoperability with existing systems including its member airlines' own customer apps, IATA said.

(Reporting by Laurence Frost. Editing by Jane Merriman)