Airlines provide first glimpse of how international flights will work

The COVID situation in NSW may not have many people thinking that international travel could be back on the agenda soon, but Qantas and Jetstar have provided a glimpse into how things will work, when the borders are reopened.

Both airlines announced that they would work with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to roll out a digital health pass when international flights resume.

Qantas trialled many digital solutions in recent months in preparation for the resumption of international travel before deciding to proceed with the IATA Travel Pass, which offers a convenient and secure method for customers to verify COVID test results and vaccination information with border or health officials and airline staff.

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The IATA Travel Pass app connects passengers to certified testing labs, so results can be uploaded to the platform and they can then show they have a vaccine certificate and/or proof of a negative COVID test before their flight.

Importantly, the IATA Travel Pass matches a customer’s health information against a specific flight, checks the entry requirements for the country they are travelling to and provides clearance to travel on that flight, to both the passenger and the airline.

Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said that the final development work was now underway to ensure the app is ready for use on Qantas and Jetstar international flights when they resume.

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The Qantas announcement follows the federal government’s release of its four-phase national COVID-19 response plan in July, which includes validating the vaccination status of Australians returning from overseas.

Many countries where Qantas and Jetstar operate, including the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, have announced requirements of either a proof of vaccine or negative COVID test result to enter without quarantine.

“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,” Ms Tully said.

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“Many governments are already requiring proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test result for international travel. Even if it wasn’t a government requirement, Qantas has always been a leader in safety and we have a responsibility to our customers and crew.

“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 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.

“We’re working closely with IATA to develop their travel pass to make the process as seamless as possible for Qantas and Jetstar customers as international borders start to reopen.”

Would you be more confident flying with an airline that is committed to knowing the vaccination status of its passengers? How long do you think we will have to wait for international travel to resume? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Ben



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