Qantas announced that it is looking into the use of digital health pass apps to help resume safe international travel according to a report by Simple Flying. The CommonPass and IATA Travel Pass smartphone apps are being trialled on the airline’s international repatriation flights.
Qantas suspended all its international services on the 19 of March last year. Since then, it has operated only repatriation flights in this segment, including services to London. Qantas’ leadership previously shared that it didn’t expect the airline to resume any significant long-haul international flying before a vaccine is rolled out.
Early January, Qantas announced that it was planning to start its international operations in July 2021. However, last week Qantas announced that is now planning to restart regular international passenger services to most destinations from 31 October 2021.
The Australian government has implemented stringent long-term restrictions on travel. So, ahead of the flight restart, the airline has to have the right tools in place to ensure operations run safely and smoothly.
The solutions that Qantas is considering are the two digital apps on trial will digitalise medical records, which will help airlines see if people have received negative coronavirus results and have been vaccinated. Overall, they will help check-in staff view a passenger’s COVID-19 health status.
The airline follows in the steps of Air New Zealand, which started to use the IATA app on its Auckland to Sydney route. Here, passengers create a digital health wallet linked to their e-passport. After they have been tested and/or vaccinated, labs will securely send data directly to the app. The system then checks the requirements for travel against the data. Those who meet the standards will then be given a green tick of approval to travel.
When general long-haul services resume for Qantas, it will be over a year and a half since they were grounded. Therefore, the airline will be putting the right measures in place to ensure that the restart goes seamlessly and safely.