Though the thought of hopping on a long-haul flight and shutting yourself off from all earthly worries for 8-14 glorious hours might still, realistically, be a fair way off, Qantas bosses have begun taking the first tentative steps towards jetting folks back off to all corners of the globe once again. And they’ve done so through trialling what might become just as big a part of future travel as a neck pillow or power converter: A COVID passport app.
The airline has successfully ran the first trial of a new health passport app, called CommonPass, on a flight from Germany to Darwin that landed early Friday morning.
Passengers onboard the flight, a repatriation journey that departed Frankfurt, were given the option to trial the new app, which houses a passenger’s verified COVID test results, and will likely be expanded to include proof of vaccination.
The secure app is designed to link potential travellers up with verified testing labs who can process COVID results and them upload them to people’s smartphones via the app. The app then assists border staff determine whether test results come from trustworthy and verified sources, and whether a passenger therefore meets the requirements for entry, no matter what they may be at the time.
The CommonPass app spits out a Yes/No answer for border officials to assess, making the process – at least in theory – fairly speedy.
The vaccine passport forms a large part of airlines plans to resume international travel, as global efforts to administer the COVID vaccine continue to progress.
Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully stated that “we want to get our international flights back in the air and our people back to work, and a digital health pass will be a key part of that. COVID test results and proof of vaccine will be required in many countries for quarantine-free travel, just as it has been for polio and yellow fever vaccinations in the past.”
Tully stated that there are plans to integrate some sort of COVID vaccine passport app into the pre-existing Qantas app in order to further streamline the travel process, however for now trials with the CommonPass app are set to continue.
A competing app, the IATA Travel Pass, will also be trialled by Qantas over the coming months.