Wednesday, February 28, 2024

IATA rolls out GenNext travel documentation, verification system

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has rolled out the next-generation travel documentation and verification system which supports contactless travel and enhances the passenger experience.  To achieve this, Timatic has undergone a complete redesign, setting a new benchmark in travel compliance solutions. 

Building on the success of its predecessor, Timatic AutoCheck offers a streamlined and interactive experience enabling travelers, airlines and travel professionals to easily access accurate and clearly worded immigration information. 

The entire document-checking process has been automated with tailored instructions for each passenger.

With passenger traffic set to double by 2040, the optimization and enhancement of airport processes will need to continue. Verifying passengers’ travel documentation is one of the more time-consuming tasks which will benefit from further automation, said IATA in a statement. 

Moreover, the new features of Timatic AutoCheck will also play an essential role in supporting the industry in the move towards contactless travel.

IATA’s most recent Global Passenger Survey (GPS) revealed that complex visa requirements deter travelers who want a convenient, digital online visa process. Moreover, many are willing to share their travel document information for faster airport immigration procedures.

*36 percent of travelers said they have been discouraged from traveling to a particular destination because of the immigration requirements. Process complexity was highlighted as the main deterrent by 49 percent of travelers, 19 percent cited costs and 8 percent privacy concerns.

*Where visas are required, 66 percent of travelers want to obtain a visa online prior to travel, 20 percent prefer to go to the consulate or embassy and 14 percent at the airport.

*87 percent of travelers indicated they would share their immigration information to speed up the airport arrival process, representing an increase from the 83 percent reported in 2022.

On the new product, Frederic Leger, IATA’s Senior Vice President Commercial Products and Services, said: “Taking advantage of traveler willingness to use online processes and share information in advance, Timatic AutoCheck enables airlines, ground handlers, departure control systems and travel agents a customer friendly online solution, through which travelers can check that they comply with all immigration requirements before setting off to the airport,”

Timatic AutoCheck can easily be integrated into airline reservation and departure control systems (DCS) as well as distribution systems used by travel agencies and online booking platforms and features the following product enhancements: 

*Simplified Regulatory Content: Timatic AutoCheck includes simplified and more user-friendly worded travel regulations, making them easier to understand. Travelers no longer need to know terminologies or read through complex regulations as the information is now provided in a concise manner.

*Interactive Data Driven Approach: Leveraging the power of data, users will now be guided through each step of the compliance process, ensuring they possess all required documents and meet the entry requirements. Users can input their travel details and receive personalized responses.

*Practical Recommendations: Timatic AutoCheck offers more than just information; it provides responses. Whether checking visa requirements, health regulations or entry restrictions, users now receive instructions on how to proceed and comply with regulations so they can promptly address any issues they may encounter.

*Enhanced Automation: The latest automation features make self-service check-in even easier. Airlines have the option to incorporate the new Timatic AutoCheck into their systems enabling passengers to independently verify their travel documents and compliance status through the various check-in options on offer.

“Timatic AutoCheck represents a further milestone in the pursuit of efficiency and convenience within the travel industry. By effortlessly navigating regulations, travelers can embark on their journeys with confidence and peace of mind,” said Leger.

“In addition, this innovation also enables airlines, ground handlers and travel agents to enhance customer satisfaction, integrate travel documentation verification into the contactless travel experience and streamline their operations,” he added.

Major DCS providers like Amadeus, Hitit and Sabre, along with various airlines and Star Alliance are already working with IATA to upgrade to the new Timatic AutoCheck, taking the next step towards a seamless travel experience and contactless travel.

According to IATA, Timatic has been providing users with reliable and real time information on the required documentation for international travel since its inception in the 1960s. 

“For this, IATA relies on a variety of sources, including governments, airlines, or airports. The accuracy of this data is key to ensuring that the correct information is provided to airlines and passengers alike. Annually, more than a billion passenger document checks are performed through Timatic,” he added.

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