Passengers traveling to Singapore from 1 May will be able to use the IATA Travel Pass to share their pre-departure Covid-19 PCR test results upon check-in with their airline, as well as on arrival at the immigration checkpoints at Changi Airport. This is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and IATA to facilitate seamless and efficient travel through digital certificates of Covid-19 tests.

    Commenting on the initiative, IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “Having the confidence of an aviation leader like Singapore accept the IATA Travel Pass is hugely significant. Ongoing trials put us on track for the IATA Travel Pass to be a critical tool for the industry’s restart by delivering verified travel health credentials to governments. Travellers can have complete confidence that their personal data is secure and under their own control. The success of our joint efforts will make IATA’s partnership with the government of Singapore a model for others to follow.” 

    CAAS director general Kevin Shum added: “We have built upon our long-standing and deep partnership with IATA to develop solutions to facilitate travel. This latest collaboration demonstrates our shared commitment to drive the adoption of digital health certificates and restore international air travel. As we look 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.” 

    Digital certification is crucial

    Digital health certificates will be a key feature in air travel moving forward, notes IATA. Establishing trusted, secure solutions to verify the health credentials of travellers will be critical in facilitating smooth air travel and safeguarding public health. The IATA Travel Pass is a personal secure digital wallet solution that can be used by passengers to obtain and store their Covid-19 test results from accredited laboratories.  

    More than 20 airlines have announced trials of the IATA Travel Pass; IATA advises that passengers intending to use the IATA Travel Pass in Singapore should check with the airline they are travelling with for eligibility.

    Passenger traffic falls further

    In other news from IATA, passenger traffic fell in February 2021, both compared to pre-Covid levels in February 2019 and to the immediate month prior (ie January 2020). 

    Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of the pandemic all comparisons are to February 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern, unless otherwise noted. 

    Total demand for air travel in February 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 74.7 per cent compared to February 2019. That was worse than the 72.2 per cent decline recorded in January 2021 versus two years ago.

    International passenger demand in February was 88.7 per cent below February 2019, a further drop from the 85.7 per cent year-to-year decline recorded in January and the worst growth outcome since July 2020. Performance in all regions worsened compared to January 2021.

    Total domestic demand was down 51.0 per cent versus pre-crisis levels. In January it was down 47.8 per cent on the 2019 period. This was largely the result of weakness in China travel, driven by government requests that citizens stay at home during the Lunar New Year travel period. 

    In February, IATA noted that demand for air cargo decreased by 10.6 per cent in 2020, the largest drop in year-on-year demand since the association started to monitor cargo performance in 1990, outpacing the six per cent fall in global trade in goods.