22 Feb 2021

Air NZ to trial digital health passport app

5:47 pm on 22 February 2021

Air New Zealand will trial a new digital health passport to help people fly safely across the globe once international travel picks up again.

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Photo: Supplied/ Air NZ

The Travel Pass app was developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and will store health information, including Covid-19 test results and vaccinations.

It will be trailled on Air New Zealand's Auckland to Sydney route first, starting in April, when the app becomes available. Aircrew and customers will both be invited to join the trial.

The aim is to store individuals' health credentials in one place, and to allow for contactless travel.

Customers will create a digital health wallet linked to their e-passport. Labs will then be able to securely send data to the app, which can then check that data against any travel requirements.

"Once borders reopen, travel is going to look very different, with customers' health data needing to be verified at check-in," said the airline's chief digital officer, Jennifer Sepul.

"It's 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."

Passengers wearing masks arrive from New Zealand at Sydney International Airport on October 16, 2020.

Photo: AFP / David Gray

Discussions are ongoing with government agencies about how the test results and vaccinations can be validated.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand said the app was designed with customer privacy at its heart. While there won't be a central database storing personal information, that information can be shared at travellers discretion.

"Air New Zealand's trial of IATA Travel Pass will help give governments the confidence to re-open borders and passengers the confidence to travel," said a senior IATA figure, Nick Careen.

"The app has been developed with the highest levels of data privacy and security, so passengers always remain in control of their Covid-19 health information.

"And governments can be confident that passengers who are "Ok to Travel" are in full compliance of Covid-19 travel requirements."

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