Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has partnered with Singapore-based Affinidi to advance the aviation industry’s ability to digitally read, authenticate and validate COVID-19 test results and to enable a more efficient and seamless travel experience for travelers.
Currently, travelers are required to book pre-departure tests (PDT) at accredited healthcare institutions and present the health reports with negative test results to airlines and immigration authorities before they can board their flights.
However, the lack of a global standard for digital health credentials impedes the verification process. Affinidi’s goal is to enhance its travel verification and interoperable solution that reads and authenticates various verifiable QR codes on health reports in a confidential manner, regardless of the issuing authority and format — thus, allowing airlines to process health credentials more seamlessly.
Since March 27, Etihad has been trialling Affinidi’s travel verification solution to authenticate the digital health credentials of passengers travelling from Singapore to Abu Dhabi.
Also, Etihad became the first airline to trial Affinidi’s Healthcare Network Assessment (HNA) program in Bahrain, Cairo, Maldives, Manila, and Jakarta.
This allows Etihad to understand the digital maturity and extent of QR code adoption on health reports in each destination market.
Over the coming months, Etihad will continue to extend the Affinidi Healthcare Network Assessment across more destinations in its network.
“As stakeholders in the travel ecosystem look to restart safe international travel, standardisation of digital health credentials and a seamless verification process will be key for authorities to verify passengers’ credentials efficiently,” said Toby Berger, director of Travel at Affinidi.
“Programs like the Healthcare Network Assessment will also provide airlines with a better understanding of the health landscape and explore how they can strengthen collaboration with healthcare providers,” said Berger.
The assessment has captured over 9,000 guest check-ins and identified 141 healthcare labs across five markets, and the data collected will support Affinidi in identifying key healthcare providers to onboard onto its safe travel ecosystem so that they may be able to integrate and authenticate health reports issued by these providers.
This will in turn increase the pool of health reports that airlines can digitally verify while guarding against fraudulent reports and improving the airlines’ ability to process and validate health reports more efficiently.
“To facilitate the safe reopening of international travel and provide our guests with the best experience, it is important that we are able to seamlessly authenticate and validate health credentials, regardless of their origin or format, in a manner that protects the confidentiality of our guest’s data,” said John Wright, Etihad Airways VP for global airports and network operations.