Qantas officials believe their first customer trial of a digital health passport on a flight from Germany is a major step forward in the push to get Australians travelling internationally again.
The airline’s QF116 repatriation flight from Frankfurt to Darwin touched down on Friday morning, and passengers on-board were the first to trial the CommonPass digital health app.
Those on-board were invited to use the CommonPass app to show their negative COVID-19 test result, but the app aims to eventually incorporate proof of vaccination.
The CommonPass smartphone app, designed by Swiss-based company Commons Project Foundation, is a secure app that connects customers to certified testing labs so results can be uploaded to their phone.
CommonPass assesses whether the individual’s COVID-19 test results or vaccination records come from a trusted source and satisfy the health screening requirements of a country they want to enter.
CommonPass delivers a simple yes or no answer as to whether the individual meets the current entry criteria.
Passengers can show border officials proof of a negative COVID test result before their flight, a requirement within 72 hours of entering Australia.
Qantas successful trialled CommonPass with flight crew in February and said digital vaccine passports would help its quest to resume international travel by late October.
“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,” Qantas chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said.
“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.
“During the trial, customers travelling on our international repatriation flights (will be) invited to download the CommonPass app on their device.
“ Longer term we’d like to integrate the technology with our existing Qantas app so that our customers can manage all parts of their journey in the one place.
“Ultimately we’re focused on ensuring that the process will be as seamless as possible for our customers to share this information so they can travel internationally again.”
Commons Project Foundation chief executive Paul Meyer said the CommonPass app’s trial with travellers repatriating to Australia would pave the way for Australians to leave the country later this year.
“As we initiate the upcoming trials with Qantas, we aim to provide Australians with a secure, private and trusted experience as they return to their home country,” Mr Meyer said.
“We look forward to supporting the efforts of Qantas, the Australian government and the nation’s healthcare system to safely reopen the country to international travel.”
Qantas will also trial another digital solution to COVID-19 travel, the IATA Travel Pass.
Air New Zealand will test the IATA app on flights between Auckland and Sydney for three weeks in April.