Air New Zealand has announced it will trial a digital vaccination passport on flights between Auckland and Sydney from April.
The trial of the Travel Pass app, developed by the International Air Transport Association, will allow travellers to create a ‘digital health wallet’ that is linked to their passport.
Once they have been tested or vaccinated, the lab can securely send that information to the app, which is then cross-checked against the travel requirements for the country they hoped to visit.
Air New Zealand chief digital officer Jennifer Sepull compared the use of the app to a “digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines”.
— IATA (@IATA) February 22, 2021
“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,” she said.
“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.”
The airline said the trial would run for three weeks once the app was available in April, and air crew and customers would be invited to join.
IATA is in the final stage of development of the #IATATravelPass app. ✈️
It aims is to securely replace paper processes for sharing #COVID19 testing or vaccine information – with travelers always in control of their own data. 🔒🤳
— IATA (@IATA) January 13, 2021
Air New Zealand said there was no centralised database holding passenger’s personal information, and it was shared with airlines at their discretion.
The IATA said the app would also provide information on a government’s health and entry requirements, locations of testing and vaccination centres.
In a statement, a federal Department of Health spokesperson said the government looked forward to reviewing the outcomes of the NZ trial.
“The Australian government is supportive of ways to ensure the safety of the Australian community through the efficient collection and verification of traveller data whilst adhering to strict privacy provisions,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier this month, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said the federal government was involved in the World Health Organisation’s vaccination passport working group and with other governments to ensure interoperability.
He said there were four leading contenders working on vaccination passports, including the Travel Pass, an app by IBM, and the Health Pass by American company Clear, which was being used in airports across the United States.
The government has announced that Australians would be able to access their record of COVID-19 vaccination on their phones, which would be logged on the national immunisation register and then made available on the MyGov website or through the Medicare app.
In November, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the company was looking into options for digital health passes, as well as looking at making it compulsory for passengers to prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding flights to or from Australia.