Air France pilots blockchain-based COVID-19 travel system

Air France is set to trial a blockchain-based system for verifying COVID-19 test results for its passengers.

With travel and tourism being one of the hardest-hit industries by the coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdowns, several stakeholders are increasingly prioritizing digital and contactless solutions.

In this vein, Air France has partnered with MedAire, SGS, International SOS, and the International Chamber of Commerce to test a blockchain-based COVID-19 travel system.

Beginning from March 11, Air France will begin the pilot test of the ICC AOKpass system developed by MedAire and the International SOS. The ICC AOKpass is an app that travelers can install on their smartphones that contains a secure record of their COVID-19 test results from approved labs.

With the app, travelers need not present a paper test result as the ICC AOKpass will serve as a secure form of verification of the user’s COVID-19 negative status.

According to an announcement on Tuesday, the test will run for four weeks and will cover only the Paris CDG-Pointe-à-Pitre and Paris CDG-Fort-de-France route.

The press statement also revealed that the use of the app will be voluntary for passengers flying the route. Air France says it will share details from the test with all other collaborators in the project to aid in further travel-related health digitization efforts.

Commenting on the need for digital innovation in the travel sector amid the coronavirus pandemic, Catherine Villar, director of customer experience at Air France stated:“The test of the AOKpass solution is fully in line with this framework and the process initiated by the establishment of the Air France Protect label. We are convinced that the changes we are going through collectively will change the journey in the long term and are committed to supporting all innovation projects that can help us meet these new challenges.”

The AOKpass solution is not the first blockchain-based system adopted by Air France. Indeed, the world’s fifth-largest airline has a history of exploring the novel tech in several aspects of its operations.

According to a report by Statista, airlines have lost an estimated $314 billion to the coronavirus pandemic with air travel down over 60% according to the United Nations news agency. To adhere to social distancing protocols, stakeholders are increasingly prioritizing contactless protocols which require digital base layers like blockchain.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Jeju Island in South Korea — a major tourist hotspot — is utilizing a decentralized ledger technology-based COVID-19 tracing app. Back in January, reports emerged that the Frankfurt Airport had deployed an Iota-based solution to track COVID-19 test results of travelers.
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