IATA unlocks seamless travel with digital identity

by | Oct 30, 2023 | Airlines, Airports, Digital Transformation, Travel Tech

Last week, IATA, alongside its industry partners, successfully tested an integrated digital identity travel experience from shopping for flights to arrival.

Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security, said:

“Our vision for future travel is fully digital and secured with biometric identification. While the technology exists to do this at each stage of a journey, linking these steps together has proven challenging. Today with our partners we showed that it is possible. This will open up a world of possibilities for simpler journeys in the future.”

As the industry strives to create a seamless travel experience for its passengers, this successful testing marks a significant step towards realising this. IATA’s proof of concept video below demonstrates the impact of this technology on the passenger experience.



As the industry seeks to deliver these benefits, a clear emphasis is being placed on privacy and data control. IATA’s recent survey results found that half of all travellers are concerned over data protection, and “40 per cent would be more open to biometric solutions if they were confident that their personal information is secure.” Consequently, it is a “top priority,” that passengers keep control of their personal data with the shift towards digital identity. Careen explained:

“Information from verifiable credentials is shared on a need-to-know basis. While a government may request detailed personal information to issue a visa or prove admissibility to travel, the only information that will be shared with the airline is that the traveller has a visa and which type. Passengers want complete control of their own data. And that is what they will get—in a travel experience that is secure, simple and convenient.”

The test flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) with British Airways has made the future of paperless, convenient, and passenger focused flying seem closer than ever. However, bringing this into day-to-day will take extensive collaboration across the industry ecosystem.


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