Air New Zealand to trial Covid vaccine passport on Sydney flights using an app developed by the International Air Transport Association. Photograph: Daniel Munoz/Reuters
Air New Zealand will trial a digital vaccine passport in April on flights between Auckland and Sydney.
As vaccination begins in Australia, attention has turned to the potential resumption of international travel and how Australia could track whether potential visitors have been vaccinated.
Several tech companies have been working with the World HealthOrganization to develop a secure digital vaccination record system that could be used to prove to airlines and governments that passengers have had a Covid vaccine.
One such app, Travel Pass, developed by the International Air Transport Association, will be trialed by Air New Zealand from April to “streamline the health verification process to help customers know what they need to take their next international trip safely”.
When someone is vaccinated or tested, the medical centre or lab can to securely send that information to the app, which can then be cross-checked against the travel requirements for the country they are trying to visit. With the customer’s permission, this health information can then be shared with airlines or border control in order to verify they are eligible to travel.
The airline is still in conversations with governments about integrating the app into vaccination and testing procedures.
An Australian Department of Health statement said it looked forward to reviewing the outcomes of the 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,” it said.
A similar app, Health Pass by company Clear, has been used in some US airports to regulate travel.
Air New Zealand said the digital passport did not use any “central database storing personal information”.