It has been talked about now for almost a year, but the COVID19 vaccine is finally being rolled out. With that roll out the inevitable question has also been asked, when can international travel return to pre-COVID19.
The answer is a complex one, but many airlines are pushing to make it a far easier solution than what was initially thought. Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad have all begun trialling and implementing a new piece of technology to help that return to international travel. The technology has been dubbed the “digital health certificate” and was developed by the International Air Transport Association to verify that individual passengers have either received the COVID19 vaccine or have recently tested negative for the virus.
The Travel Pass framework (its official name) allows passengers to store and present health information relating to COVID19 in an easily understandable way allowing airline staff to allow passengers on board a plane without health authority approval.
Many airlines are ready to completely roll the technology out with Etihad offering its Travel Pass on flights from Abu Dhabi in Q1 of this year. Emirates is similarly beginning its rollout of the technology in April.
It is important to note that the technology will only be available to those who use specified clinics. The medical professional who you visit to receive your vaccine dose or COVID19 test must be approved to issue the digital health certificate otherwise the service may not be available to a passenger.
Singapore is taking the technology one step further and immigration authorities are using it to verify passenger health status on entry and exit of the country. They’re beginning this trial on passengers flying from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore and the remainder of the trial participants are looking at integrating the framework in their own travel applications on iOS and Android operating systems and if successful will envisage to quickly roll the technology out to their entire travel network. This will allow the airlines to prove that they are running a safe international service to countries like Australia where COVID19 infections are extremely low.