Air New Zealand trial a digital health passport on flights to Australia as a first step to restarting international travel.
The Travel Pass app developed by International Air Transport Association (IATA) stores passenger’s health information including Covid-19 test results and vaccinations.
Air New Zealand will trial the app on its Auckland-Sydney route in April.
“Once borders reopen, travel is going to look very different, with customers’ health data needing to be verified at check-in,” Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer, Jennifer Sepull said.
“It’s essentially like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines.”
How does the Air New Zealand health passport work?
Customers create a digital health wallet linked to their e-passport.
When a traveller is tested and/or vaccinated labs will securely send data to the individual’s app.
The app checks requirements for travel against an individual’s data. It will give a green tick to those travellers that meet the requirements.
Customer privacy was a key focus of the app’s design. There is no central database storing personal information. Personal information is securely shared only at the travellers’ discretion.
Air New Zealand wants to reassure customers that international travel is safe.
“By using the app, customers can have confidence that everyone onboard meets the same government health requirements they do,” Sepull said.
The trial will run for three weeks once the app hits digital store shelves in April. Both aircrew and customers will be able to download the Air New Zealand health passport and join the trial.
The airline is in conversation with government agencies about options for verification of testing and vaccination.
The app will also give governments peace of mind when time comes to reopen borders.
IATA hopes the app will allow governments such as Australia and New Zealand to open international borders soon.
“Governments can be confident that passengers who are ‘Ok to Travel’ are in full compliance with COVID-19 travel requirements,” IATA’s Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security Nick Careen, said.
Australia started to roll out the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said if the vaccine lowers the rates of coronavirus around the world, Australia’s borders may open sooner than expected.
Several destinations around the world are already opening to international travellers who can prove they have had the COVID vaccine.