When you make air travel, airlines first create your booking record in their passenger service system. Airlines then share that data with their business stakeholders like codeshare partners, ground handling companies, and immigration/customs at destination countries. The purpose, data elements, legitimate background, and passenger’s legal rights are typically announced on their website and contract for carriage.
In the meantime, based on the growth of concerns for personal information protection, self-sovereign or decentralized digital identity is the technical mainstream of ID management. They offer concepts that individuals own and control their personal data. In the example mentioned above, travelers forward biographic data from their digital wallet to airline and immigration separately, and necessary data elements only. In this model, there is no organized central data repository of travelers’ data. As you can easily imagine from the terminology “decentralized,” this concept is conceived by blockchain technology.
In the aviation industry, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) introduced a standard for Digital Travel Credentials (DTC). It is a digital representation of the traveler’s identity that would substitute a conventional passport in the future. With its digital format, DTC can be stored in digital containers such as smartphones. DTC has three implementation types. In Type-1, digital identity on the smartphone is regarded as an extracted copy of ePassports, and ePassport acts as a physical authenticator of digital data. (carrying a passport is mandatory). In Type-2, digital identity will be regarded as identical to ePassport. Type-3 will be a complete replacement for physical passports. Type-1 was adopted in 2020. If I understand correctly, the specification of Type-2 and 3 are still being discussed in ICAO. Several countries are considering implementing digital government IDs like mobile driver’s licenses. These IDs also utilize Self-sovereign and Decentralised digital identity. So we would foresee that these countries also enhance DTC-involved solutions, which may also impact passenger handling in the airline.