Qantas has confirmed it this week conducted its first customer trial of a phone app that stores COVID information such as whether you’ve had a test or vaccine.
The CommonPass system connects users to “certified testing labs” so results can be uploaded to the platform. Qantas added it will soon trial a rival product created by IATA.
Qantas’ chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said COVID test results and proof of vaccine will soon be required in many countries, as it has been for polio and yellow fever jabs in the past.
“During the trial, customers travelling on our international repatriation flights are being invited to download the CommonPass app on their device,” said Tully. “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.”
Last year, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce became the most high-profile international airline boss to pledge that all international passengers will require a COVID vaccine to fly.
Speaking to journalists in December, Joyce said, “Our position on this is clear. We have a duty of care to our people and our passengers, and once a safe and effective vaccine becomes readily available, it will be a requirement for travel on our international services.
“There will be some exceptions for people who can’t – for medical reasons – take vaccines. And our flights to New Zealand will probably be exempt given their success at controlling COVID as well, just as domestic flights will be exempt.
“I acknowledge some people are opposed to vaccines in principle. We respect that. But in return, we ask everyone who travels on Qantas and Jetstar to respect our safety protocols – which will include a COVID vaccine for international flights, at least until the pandemic is under control overseas.”
Qantas is planning to restart international travel on 31 October, and will operate 22 of its 25 routes to destinations including Los Angeles, London and Johannesburg in line with Australia’s vaccine rollout.
Currently, only Australian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter the country, with international students, temporary visa holders and tourists banned altogether. Those who do enter are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for which they have to pay up to $3,000.
Qantas app announcement follows Air New Zealand confirming last month that it would also trial an app to be presented at check-in that records if they have been vaccinated for COVID or undertaken a recent test.