Enhanced health risk assessment, a new capacity to develop in airports

Read time: 4 minutes

While the pandemic reduced movements at borders and affected every country on every continent, enhancing health risk assessment to reduce the spread is key, even more where various passenger profiles come together. How can we reduce health risks through better visibility on passenger movements before and during travel? Let’s see how the latest technologies can facilitate movement and health controls in order to limit the spread of pandemics along the passenger journey.

A new protocol for temperature checks

A new travel protocol resulting from the Covid-19 crisis requires additional controls related to the health status of each passenger.

In-situ temperature checks can be implemented when passengers present themselves at the airport or arrive at their destinations. This process was first implemented years ago in African airports, when authorities were fighting the Ebola virus. It has proven to be one of the most pragmatic and efficient ways to ensure safety for everyone.

In the “new normal”, airports and border authorities not only need to enhance health risk assessment at the airport, but also have a more complete view of passenger movements before and during travel. Both of these measures will help reduce the risk of spreading the pandemic.

Health certificates

From now on, in order to be permitted to travel, passengers must declare or prove that they meet the necessary health requirements. The required travel documents—passport, visa, electronic travel authorization or arrival cards—may soon contain data related to passengers’ health status. Additional documents—like health certificates—may also be requested by authorities. Various health certificates can be issued to verify the health status of the traveler and should be considered as legitimate for health verification. A health passport, with a privacy by design approach, can securely store all types of certificates from PCR tests to proof of immunity or vaccinations. A traveler’s personal health information should be safe at all times—the health passport must ensure the traveler will remain the sole holder of their health data. Neither a State nor a travel company should be in possession of this confidential data, and no server should store it—in respect of the traveler’s data privacy.

Advanced control through API-PNR

Traveler’s health status along with additional travel data, such as Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record (API-PNR), are securely sent to the arrival country allowing relevant government agencies to perform the necessary health controls in advance, welcome those who are identified as safe, and take appropriate measures for others.

The purpose is to understand a passenger’s complete travel history in order to see if they have flown from or journeyed through an at-risk area prior to their final destination. Monitoring travelers who were seated near a potentially infected person could also be of interest, although an appropriate balance between security and privacy must be considered.

Today, border authorities are equipped with risk assessment systems. This has become a game changer in border management. As soon as a journey is booked, passenger data can be cross-checked against external reference databases and analyzed via a risk assessment procedure for security clearance purposes. These systems include passenger data collection and processing of API-PNR—Passenger Name Record (PNR), batch and interactive Advance Passenger Information (API – iAPI)—smart data analysis and alert management. Moving forward, authorities may need additional features like information on risky patterns related to historic travel behavior and/or plane seating location to assess health status and build up a comprehensive traveler data collection solution factoring in health risk assessment.

In compliance with laws and respectful of privacy, to achieve efficient border management, an effective Entry/Exit System must also be integrated; one that enables authorities to define the relevant business rules, interconnect and perform controls, and use other types of information to grant or refuse entrance into the country.

Playlist – ID2Travel
Playlist – ID2Travel

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