A new digital vaccination passport will be trialled on flights between Auckland and Sydney

Air New Zealand will trial a digital travel pass to give airlines and border authorities access to passenger health information, including their Covid-19 vaccination status, the carrier said Monday.

The scheme, dubbed a “vaccination passport” by industry observers, is intended to streamline travel once borders reopen by allowing passengers to store their health credentials in one place.

“It’s essentially like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines,” said Air New Zealand chief digital officer Jennifer Sepull.

The proposed scheme relies on an app developed by the International Air Transport Association and other airlines including Etihad and Emirates have already signed up for their own trials.

Air New Zealand aims to trial the pass on flights between Auckland and Sydney, beginning in April. 

The association’s senior vice-president Nick Careen said the app is an important milestone in restarting international travel as global vaccine rollouts get underway.

“Governments can be confident that passengers who are ‘OK to travel’ are in full compliance of Covid-19 travel requirements,” he said.

Mr Careen said the app ensured privacy by giving users control of the health data they provided.

Australia formed a one-way trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand in May last year. Under the agreement residents from New Zealand would be allowed to travel in and out of Australia without quarantine.

New Zealand was supposed to allow travellers from Australia into their country by the end of March this year. 

But, due to new outbreaks in both countries, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern now says talks are still ongoing as to when they will open the bubble. 

New Zealand has been praised globally for their efforts to stamp out the virus. The country was among the first in the world to impose border restrictions and internal lockdowns.

They have reported a total of 2357 cases and 26 deaths since the pandemic began.

The Air New Zealand trial begins in April.

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