By Kyunghee Park
(Bloomberg) — Singapore will allow passengers traveling to the island state to share pre-departure Covid-19 test results with airlines and immigration staff upon arrival using IATA’s Travel Pass from next month as the Southeast Asian nation takes steps to reopen its borders.
The International Air Transport Association’s app is a digital solution that can be used by people to store Covid test results from accredited laboratories. The app, being trialled by more than 20 carriers including Singapore Airlines Ltd., will be available for download in the second half of this month. IATA hopes such solutions will help drive the adoption of digital health certificates.
“As we work to safely rebuild the Changi air hub, we will continue to explore other solutions that can provide similarly secure and verifiable means of sharing health certificates for safe international travel,” Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Director-General Kevin Shum said in a statement Monday, referring to the country’s Changi airport.
With coronavirus cases in the city-state under control, the focus has swung to vaccinations and reopening borders. Because Singapore has no domestic market to speak of, international travel is vital to the economy and Singapore Airlines’ financial prospects. Talks are underway with Hong Kong and Australia to start travel bubbles that would replace mandatory quarantine with tests.
Singapore is set to expand vaccines to under 45-year-olds from June and is maintaining its end-2021 schedule to vaccinate everyone. About 1.05 million people, or 18.4% of the population, have received their first dose.
The nation is also exploring mutual recognition of vaccination certificates with several countries and regions, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament on Monday. These initiatives could be physical or digital and will need to be temper-proof and verifiable, he said.
“Singapore will continue to holistically evaluate the Covid-19 situation in various countries and regions and explore the possibility restoring air travel when it is safe to do so,” Ong said. “And we have been proactively doing so given the importance of our global connections.”
CAAS and IATA will also work on enhancing the IATA travel pass, including enabling QR code scanning by immigration officers, according to Monday’s statement. Singapore Airlines said in March that would become the world’s first airline to pilot the IATA Travel Pass, starting with passengers flying to London.
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.