By Will Lee
Air New Zealand Trials IATA’s Travel Pass
Following Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand is going to trial the Travel Pass app developed by International Air Transport Association (IATA) on its Auckland-Sydney route in April.
Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Jennifer Sepull says the goal is to enable customers to seamlessly manage their digital travel documentation throughout their experience.
“Once borders reopen, travel is going to look very different, with customers’ health data needing to be verified at check-in,” Sepull said. The airline mentioned the necessity of the new protocol.
“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 for contactless travel.” Sepull added.
“Air New Zealand is demonstrating its industry leadership being among the first airlines in the world to offer its passengers a digital travel pass,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security in response to the airline’s trial announcement.
Cabin crew and passengers will be invited to join the program. The passengers will be able to create their e-passport. Once the travelers have been tested or vaccinated, labs will send the results to the passengers’ cell phone. Air New Zealand said the trial program would be run for three weeks throughout April.
As a result of the pandemic, the aviation industry has become one of the worst hit sectors globally. IATA hopes the new and free app can provide governments with the confidence to reopen borders without imposing quarantines on incoming travelers in the future.
The IATA Travel Pass app will feature necessary health information to facilitate travel. The app will accurate information on travel, testing and vaccine requirements for one’s journey. Also, it could identify testing centers and labs at the departure location which meet the testing standards of the destination. The app also locates authorized labs and test centers to securely send result or vaccination certificates to passengers.
IATA’s Travel Pass app allows passengers to create a digital passport, receive test and vaccination certificates that are sufficient for their journey and share testing and vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities.
According to IATA, the app does not have any privacy concerns as it won’t store any data centrally. It simply links entitles that need verification with the test or vaccination data when travelers arrive. No verification will go to an airline or a government without passenger’s authorization.
Earlier, Dubai-based carrier Emirates Airline announced its customers could be able to share their Covid-19 test status directly with the airline through the Travel Pass app. Qatar Airways also rolled out the first phase of trial of the new IATA app on its Doha – Istanbul route. Etihad Airways has announced some selected flights from Abu Dhabi will trial the new app as well.