Air New Zealand has announced it'll be one of the first airlines to trial a Travel Pass app that aims to safely accelerate international travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mobile app is being developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a "global and standardised solution to validate and authenticate all country regulations regarding COVID-19 passenger travel requirements".
As vaccines are being rolled out around the globe, the app promises to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel documentation digitally in line with up-to-date government requirements.
Air NZ will begin trialling the Travel Pass app on its Auckland-Sydney route in April for three weeks, with a version available for both iOS and Android devices.
How the Travel Pass app will work:
- Before travel, a customer will create a digital health wallet and link it to their e-passport
- When they get tested for and/or vaccinated against COVID-19, the lab will securely send data to the traveller's app
- The app then checks those results to see if they meet the requirements for travel
- If they do, the customer will be given a green tick to travel.
"By having a place to store all your health credentials digitally in one place, it will not only speed up the check-in process but unlock the potential for contactless travel," says Air NZ's Chief Digital Officer Jennifer Sepull.
"[The app is] essentially like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines. This will give customers peace of mind that they meet all travel requirements for the different countries around the world before they even get to the airport.
"Reassuring customers that travel is in fact safe is one of our priorities. By using the app, customers can have confidence that everyone onboard meets the same government health requirements they do."
The IATA says the Travel Pass does not store any data centrally but rather links entities that need verification - airlines, labs and governments - with the test or vaccination data, and only when the traveller authorises it.
Air NZ says "privacy is at the heart of the design".
More information about the IATA Travel Pass app is available in this Q&A document.