June 26, 2019 2:24 pm
Updated: June 29, 2019 1:13 pm

Fly passport-free between Canada and the Netherlands? It’s happening

WATCH: The World Economic Forum, Canada and the Netherlands unveiled a new pilot project in Montreal. Biometric technology combined with a mobile app will enable people to travel between the two countries without their passports.


Flying passport-free between Canada and the Netherlands will soon be a thing, thanks to a paperless pilot project between the two countries.

READ MORE: How easy is it to travel with a Canadian passport?

The project was launched Wednesday by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the governments of Canada and the Netherlands as well as several industry partners, including border authorities, airports, technology providers and airlines.

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Why go paperless? The estimate is that by 2030, international travel could rise to 1.8 billion passengers — up 50 per cent from 2016.

READ MORE: How to replace your lost or stolen passport

“With current systems, airports cannot keep up,” said Christoph Wolff, head of mobility at the World Economic Forum.

“This project offers a solution. By using interoperable digital identities, passengers benefit from a holistic system for secure and seamless travel.

“It will shape the future of aviation and security.”

Montreal Airport president and CEO Philippe Rainvilles said Montreal has become an international travel hub.

In the last five years, YUL airport has seen a 33 per cent increase in travellers with 50 per cent of passengers travelling abroad on international flights.

The project will use Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI) as a platform to identify personal information by linking back to government-issued documents.

The project was launched by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the governments of Canada and the Netherlands.

Brayden Jagger Haines/Global News

The World Economic Forum says it will put passengers in charge of when and how their data is shared. The information will be stored and encrypted on a passenger’s mobile device, rather than on their passport chip.

 “By using the blockchain technology, advance cytology and biometrics, we are able to put the user in control,” David Treat of Accenture Consulting said.

Using biometrics, the data is continuously verified at every leg of the journey until the passenger arrives at their destination. This will allow them to establish a “known traveller status” over time.

READ MORE: Air Canada right to deny boarding over expired passport, court says

“[It] will help facilitate seamless global air travel and benefit the world economy by enhancing the traveller experience, while ensuring that cross-border security is maintained,” stated Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

The pilot project is still in the testing phase but is expected to be rolled out at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Toronto’s Pearson international airports by early 2020.

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