From physical passport to Digital Travel Credential (DTC)

by | Sep 14, 2023 | Airlines, Digital Transformation, Travel Tech

As digital boarding passes and travel documents increasingly become the norm, how long will it be until the physical passport is no longer needed?

Mobile-based Digital Travel Credential (DTC) are paving the way for a future where the traditional passport is no longer necessary. ICAO explains a DTC:

“Is intended to temporarily or permanently substitute a conventional passport with a digital representation of the traveller’s identity, which can in turn be validated using the travel document issuing authority’s public key infrastructure.”

There are already pilots testing out the logistics of this shift. Finnair is the latest to experiment with the technology, launching a “world first” pilot programme alongside the Finavia and the Finnish Police. Running from late August until February 2024, passengers on Finnair flights to London, Edinburgh, and Manchester can register as a voluntary DTC user and use the ID when leaving air/or arriving in Finland.

The project is designed to test the DTC in a real border control environment, “allowing smooth and fast border crossings without compromising security.”

The Finnish flag carrier is not the first to experiment with this technology with IDEMIA and a Dutch Consortium testing the use of DTC-1 on KLM flights between Canada and the Netherlands for three months back in March.

Funded by the Commission, Finland’s DTC trial hopes to assess the technology’s ability to make the travel process easier for everyone. Would you be willing to leave your passport at home?


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