NZ to trial global digital travel pass

NZ to trial global digital travel pass

Air New Zealand will trial the digital Travel Pass app developed by International Air Transport Association (IATA) on its Auckland-Sydney route in April. The carrier's chief digital officer Jennifer Sepull says the goal is to enable customers to seamlessly manage their digital travel documentation throughout their travel experience.

‘Once borders reopen, travel is going to look different, with customers’ health data needing to be verified at check-in. It’s like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines. This will give customers peace of mind that they meet all travel requirements for the different countries around the world before they even get to the airport.

‘Reassuring customers that travel is in fact safe is one of our priorities. By using the app, customers can have confidence that everyone onboard meets the same government health requirements they do.’

There is no central database storing personal information – rather it is shared at the travellers’ discretion, in a safe and secure way.

The trial will run for three weeks once the app hits app/android store shelves in April and both aircrew and customers will be invited to join. The airline is talking to government agencies about options for validation of testing and vaccination.

IATA's Travel Pass will help

IATA’s Travel Pass is not the golden ticket to an instant recovery for the global travel sector, but it will no doubt help, says Ralph Hollister, analyst, Travel & Tourism at GlobalData.

According to GlobalData, international air arrivals decreased by 48.1% YOY (Year-Over-Year) in 2020. Due to this collapse in demand, ongoing testing, tracing and vaccinations rollouts will need to be continued alongside the digital Covid Travel Pass to ensure a strong and sustained recovery, Hollister says.

‘International travel is a possibility this (northern) summer and the success of vaccine rollouts may allow for short-haul travel to resume between many economically developed nations. However, low confidence may still stop many from traveling.

‘A recent survey found that 52% of global respondents are either ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ concerned regarding restrictions on international travel. IATA’s Travel Pass should, therefore, help to ease these ongoing apprehensions. As the app confirms if a passenger has had the appropriate Covid-19 tests or vaccines required to enter a country, this will assure travelers that there will be no sudden surprises when they enter the destination, such as restrictions on movement.

‘However, global rollout of the app could be difficult due to the insistence by some governments on paper documentation for proof of vaccination or negative test meaning that some persuasion may be needed for specific countries. Furthermore, app rollout could be difficult in developing nations where levels of smartphone ownership may not be as high in comparison to developed countries. This could mean that the rollout is seen as something that increases global inequality in terms of which nations can and can’t freely travel.’

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