Air New Zealand boss Greg Foran is heading to Sydney today and will meet two grandchildren for the first time - and trial technology that could help open up travel to other parts of the world.
He's joining the thousands of Kiwis who have crossed the Tasman in the first few days of two-way quarantine free travel to re-unite with friends and family and he can't wait to see them.
Not only that, he'll get to watch live his son Kieran play for the Manly Sea Eagles on Anzac Day, the first time he's done that for years.
Foran has three adult children in Australia - who he hasn't seen for about two years - and seven grandchildren, two of whom were born during the past year.
''It's going to be terrific isn't it. To be able to get a bit of time with the kids and their spouses. You can only do so much with video and phone calls.''
One of the attractions of moving back to New Zealand after working for Walmart in China and the United States was being closer to his children and grandchildren in Australia but Covid put the brakes on that over the past year.
Foran hasn't flown overseas yet as boss of Air NZ and is using the quick visit to Sydney (he's retuning on Monday) to demonstrate a new digital health wallet the airline is trialling in association with the International Air Transport Association.
The digital Travel Pass app enables passengers to seamlessly manage their digital travel documentation throughout their travel.
It's essentially like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely be shared with airlines.
Foran said he had a saliva test for Covid yesterday (it was negative) and this along with his passport details and a photo were loaded on to the app within minutes.
''The information stored on your phone is not stored in the cloud so it's all very secure and confidential,'' he said.
It wouldn't be difficult for us to create a link for this information to go into a booking which would mean the airline would be supplied with the information.
''If this becomes the way we travel you wouldn't want everyone to necessarily pull out their phone and slow down the booking process. When you turned up at the airport we would know you've had a Covid test. I see this as being a very good solution for the world.''
The IATA pass could be ''incredibly important'' in opening up the world but airlines would need to work with governments on approved testing and vaccine sites.
Foran said Air New Zealand was in discussion with the Government here about the scheme which was also being trialled by Singapore Airlines.
''The reason why I've done it is to demonstrate that this is the way that we could say open up to America and vice-versa.''
While he was not certain when long haul travel could resume, the prospects of returning to normal flights to the US were improving with vaccine rollouts and other ways of countering Covid.
Foran said he hasn't had a Covid jab.
''I do get around on planes but there are people who do a lot more of it than I do and don't want to jump the queue. But I'm absolutely happy to have it when it's appropriate to do it.''
How the digital wallet works:
• Customers will be able to create a digital health wallet linked to their e-passport.
• Once travellers have been tested and/or vaccinated, labs will securely send data to the individual's app.
• It then checks requirements for travel against the data and customers who meet those travel requirements will be given the green tick to travel.