Etihad Airways is the first airline to participate in Affinidi’s Healthcare Network Assessment (HNA) Program.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has partnered with Affinidi, a Singapore-based technology company, to advance the aviation industry’s ability to digitally read, authenticate and validate COVID-19 test results, enabling a more efficient and seamless travel experience for travelers.

Through this partnership, Etihad has become the first airline to participate in Affinidi’s Healthcare Network Assessment (HNA) Program in Bahrain, Cairo, Maldives, Manila, and Jakarta.

The airline is working with Affinidi to identify the types of pre-departure tests (PDTs) issued by healthcare providers as well as overall valid scan rates of QR codes on health reports when passengers check-in at the airports. This allows Etihad to understand the digital maturity and extent of QR code adoption on health reports in each destination market. 

The assessment program has captured over 9,000 guest check-ins and identified 141 healthcare labs across five markets, and the data collected will support Affinidi in identifying key healthcare providers to onboard onto its safe travel ecosystem so that they may be able to integrate and authenticate health reports issued by these providers.

This will in turn increase the pool of health reports that airlines can digitally verify while guarding against fraudulent reports and improving the airlines’ ability to process and validate health reports more efficiently.

The data collected from the assessment will also support Affinidi in identifying key healthcare providers to onboard onto its safe travel ecosystem.

Apart from taking part in this industry-first program, Etihad has also been trialling Affinidi’s travel verification solution to authenticate the digital health credentials of passengers travelling from Singapore to Abu Dhabi, since 27 March 2021.

Currently, travelers are required to book pre-departure tests (PDT) at accredited healthcare institutions and present the health reports with negative test results to airlines and immigration authorities before they can board their flights. However, the lack of a global standard for digital health credentials impedes the verification process.

John Wright, Vice President Global Airports and Network Operations, Etihad Airways, said: “To facilitate the safe reopening of international travel and provide our guests with the best experience, it is important that we are able to seamlessly authenticate and validate health credentials, regardless of their origin or format, in a manner that protects the confidentiality of our guest’s data. We have always advocated the importance of interoperability of digital health solutions and are glad to partner with Affinidi to help accelerate this development.”

Over the coming months, Etihad will continue to extend the HNA across more destinations in its network. 

Affinidi’s goal is to enhance its travel verification and interoperable solution that reads and authenticates various verifiable QR codes on health reports in a confidential manner, regardless of the issuing authority and format, allowing airlines to process health credentials more seamlessly. 

Toby Berger, Director of Travel at Affinidi, said: “As stakeholders in the travel ecosystem look to restart safe international travel, standardization of digital health credentials and a seamless verification process will be key for authorities to verify passengers’ credentials efficiently. Programs like the HNA will also provide airlines with a better understanding of the health landscape and explore how they can strengthen collaboration with healthcare providers.”