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IATA Launches New Timatic Product to Support Contactless Travel

Frédéric Léger

Frédéric Léger

Frédéric Léger is Senior Vice President of Commercial Products and Services at IATA.

Checking and verifying travel documents more often than not needs to be performed manually. With the expected continued growth in air travel, this task needs to be automated to a much higher degree. Passengers have clearly communicated that they are willing to share their data in advance of travel to achieve this goal. Building on IATA’s long-standing experience in collecting and making accurate travel document, visa, and health information available to both stakeholders in the travel value chain and travelers, the new version of Timatic AutoCheck offers various online solutions through which travelers can check that they comply with all travel requirements before setting off to the airport.

The continued need for a fast and easy verification system

Understanding visa and health requirements for travel can often be a daunting task. Given the intricacies and the wordings of government-defined rules and regulations, verifying compliance often becomes a complicated, and in some cases, even a manual task. In fact, respondents polled in IATA’s most recent Global Passenger Survey stated that complex visa requirements deter them from travel, as they want a convenient, digital online visa process. Moreover, many are willing to share their travel document information for faster airport immigration procedures.

A person presenting their passport and boarding pass

  • 36% 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% of travelers, 19% cited costs, and 8% referenced privacy concerns.
  • Where visas are required, 66% of travelers want to obtain a visa online prior to travel, 20% prefer to go to the consulate or embassy, and 14% prefer to complete the process at the airport.
  • 87% of travelers indicated they would share their immigration information to speed up the airport arrival process, representing an increase from the 83% reported in 2022.

Since its inception in the 1960s, IATA’s Timatic has been providing the most reliable and up-to-date information on requirements and documentation for international travel. The information is sourced directly from governments, airlines, or airports and the accuracy of this data is key to ensuring that the correct information is provided to airlines and passengers alike.

Using this breadth of data, IATA offers a variety of Timatic solutions that enable travel agencies, airlines, and ground handlers to provide the latest and most accurate information to travelers. In addition, the IATA Travel Centre allows travelers to directly obtain the latest travel documentation, visa, and health information. Using the various tools available, travelers can check compliance with travel requirements in advance, thus avoiding any inconvenience or delay at the airport.

A new online solution for seamless travel

At present, more than a billion passenger document checks are performed on an annual basis via Timatic. However, with passenger traffic set to double by 2040, optimizing and enhancing travel and airport processes will need to continue, including further automation in travel document verification.

To enable this, IATA continuously introduces enhancements, new features, and upgrades, as well as new solutions to enable a seamless and contactless travel. The latest of these is the new version of Timatic AutoCheck, which offers a streamlined and interactive experience that enables travelers, airlines, and travel professionals to easily access accurate and clearly worded immigration information. Building on the original AutoCheck solution launched 15 years ago, the new version features simplified regulatory content, an interactive data-driven approach, practical recommendations, and enhanced automation. As a result, the entire document-checking process can be automated, including providing tailored instructions for each passenger, especially in cases where documentation is found to be non-compliant or incorrect.

With travelers increasingly seeking to use online processes and share information in advance, airlines, ground handlers, departure control systems, and travel agents can now offer a customer-friendly online solution through Timatic AutoCheck. This system enables travelers to check that they comply with all immigration requirements before making a trip.

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. In addition, this innovation also enables airlines, ground handlers, and travel agents to enhance customer satisfaction.

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