12° Nicosia,
17 July, 2024

IATA's OneID sees a passport-free future in air travel

Expect seamless journeys with biometric technology and digital identity


Recent strides in digital identity technology are reshaping the landscape of air travel, offering the promise of a streamlined and secure experience without the hassle of passports and boarding passes. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has conducted successful trials within its OneID initiative, heralding the onset of a passport-free era.

IATA's OneID Trials saw collaborative efforts with industry giants like Accenture, Amadeus, AWS, British Airways, Branchspace, IDnow, Turkish Airlines,, SICPA, and Verchaska. During the inaugural comprehensive OneID trial, passengers embarked on a contactless journey from London Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino via British Airways, highlighting the potential advantages of digital identity and biometric technology.

“Our vision for future travel is fully digital and secured with biometric identification"

Nick Careen, IATA's Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety, and Security, shared their vision for future travel, envisioning a fully digital and biometrically secured journey. While the technology for this transformation exists at each stage of the travel process, linking these steps has posed challenges until now.

Airlines are increasingly favoring contactless travel, capturing digital passport information, biometric data, and other requisite details to simplify seat assignments and check-in, thereby reducing reliance on traditional boarding passes. Biometric data facilitates a hands-free experience throughout the airport, including swift passage through security lines, lounges, and aircraft boarding.

Surveys conducted by IATA and others indicate a growing traveler preference for digital solutions and biometric identity verification, particularly during boarding and security checks. IATA's own passenger survey reflects rising confidence in biometric identification, with a notable 46% of passengers adopting biometrics at airports in the last 12 months, up from 34% in 2022. Furthermore, 75% of travelers express a preference for biometric data over traditional passports and boarding passes.

Effortless Travel Requirements Check: Digital passports stored in a traveler's digital wallet prove pivotal in simplifying travel prerequisites, allowing passengers to confirm their document requirements by sharing nationality data. IATA's Timatic solution plays a crucial role in streamlining this process, empowering travelers to prepare for their journey well before reaching the airport.

Airlines like Alaska Airlines have embraced the digital revolution with programs such as "Mobile Verify," allowing passengers to digitally confirm their passports on smartphones, streamlining passport control for international flights.

For this passport-free future to become a global reality, industry-wide cooperation and adherence to standardized practices are imperative. IATA and the International Civil Aviation Organization are actively contributing to the development of the necessary standards.

Interoperability between stakeholders and governments is a vital aspect of realizing a seamless travel experience. Governments' support for digital alternatives, such as e-visas, can significantly enhance digital border controls and streamline passenger processing.

Privacy remains a central concern in this digital travel evolution, with travelers emphasizing data control and restricting information access to a need-to-know basis. IATA's Director General, Willie Walsh, acknowledged travelers' data security concerns, underlining the importance of information transparency and secure storage.

As the airline industry embraces technology and sets new standards, a future of passport-free and boarding-pass-free flights is becoming increasingly common, promising passengers a hassle-free and secure journey. While manual processes will still be available for those uncomfortable with biometric identity, the transition may see traditional paper passports following the path of airline-printed tickets into obsolescence in the coming decade.

[Information sourced from Forbes]

Cyprus  |  World  |  travel  |  biometrics

Business: Latest Articles