Qantas will soon launch TravelPass, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) ‘digital health’ smartphone app for international flights, with the ability to store and present proof of Covid vaccination as well as the results of pre-departure Covid tests.
The airline has chosen the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass platform to spearhead an industry-wide push to streamline a return to the skies for business and leisure travellers – especially as countries begin to require vaccination or negative test results for inbound passengers.
During a series of international repatriation flights, Qantas tested both the Travel Pass and CommonPass digital health apps.
Final development work is now underway to ensure that the Travel Pass app is ready for use on Qantas and Jetstar international flights when they resume, which is expected to be later this year for New Zealand and other potential travel bubble countries such as Singapore, and early mid-2022 for the majority of routes to Asia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The airline is also looking to integrate Travel Pass functionality into the airline’s own smartphone app so that passengers would eventually only need one app.
The Travel Pass will be a new requirement for international Qantas flights.
“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,” said Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully.
“The IATA Travel Pass will allow travellers to have their Covid test results and vaccine information verified securely, which will be their green light to fly internationally with us.”
“Many Governments are already requiring proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test result for international travel. A digital health pass will connect customers with Covid testing facilities, health authorities and airlines, and ultimately enable the opening of more travel bubbles and borders.”
The Australian government has also discussed with IATA the possibility of adopting the Travel Pass as a national standard, allowing vaccinated flyers more freedom of movement and, in the short term, potentially returning from some countries into seven days of home isolation rather than 14 days of hotel quarantine.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce previously stated that vaccination would be required for all international Qantas and Jetstar flights.
Exceptions would be made for passengers who qualify for a medical exemption, as well as some ‘travel bubble’ countries such as New Zealand unless vaccination is required for entry.
“Once a safe and effective vaccine becomes readily available, it will be a requirement for travel on our international services,” Joyce declared in December 2020.
He also mentioned widespread support for mandatory international vaccination among airline passengers, claiming that a recent poll found that 87 percent were willing to take the vaccine if it was required for international travel, while “85 percent thought it should be required for travel to at least some countries”
By Joe Cusmano