Qantas has confirmed it will introduce a digital health pass that would show passengers are Covid-free and fit to fly when regular international travel returns.
The Qantas Group said on Thursday the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass would be used on Qantas and Jetstar international flights and final development work was under way to launch the product once regular international flights resumed.
The app would allow passengers to show proof of their Covid-19 vaccination status and test results to border officials, health officials and airline staff.
It would also match a passenger's health information against a specific flight and checks the entry requirements of the country they are travelling to, and provides clearance for them to travel.
And it is seemingly an unavoidable aspect of future international travel, with many destinations Australians frequently travel to – including the UK, US and Canada – requiring proof of vaccine or negative Covid results as a condition of quarantine-free entry, however entry requirements vary.
It is also being used for domestic activities. France has mandated health passports for visitors to major domestic attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, and will soon make it mandatory for people to visit bars and restaurants.
There is no firm date on when Qantas' international flights will resume but the company said the Travel Pass would be ready to launch when that time came.
"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," Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said.
"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.
Previously vaccination was not a requirement of the quarantine-free Transtasman bubble with New Zealand.
With the New Zealand travel bubble suspended from 24 July and set last week for at least 8 weeks, there is scope that the vaccination passport question could come up when it is reviewed in September.
By the time the borders re-open New Zealand is projected to have over 3 million first doses or 60 per cent of the population partially covered.
"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."
Qantas said that passengers who did not use the app could still provide proof of vaccination and test results at the airport, but would not have the benefit of being cleared to fly before they arrived at the airport, Traveller reported.
The IATA Travel Pass is one of several digital passport technologies trialled on recent Qantas repatriation flights.
It has also been trialled on other major airlines including Air New Zealand, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways.
IATA's senior vice president for operations, safety and security Nick Careen said the Travel Pass was a "convenient and secure method for travellers to verify and share their Covid test results and vaccination information" with officials and airline staff.
"IATA Travel Pass delivers an advantage over other solutions in that the app enables travellers to create a digital ID derived from a government-issued document such as a passport," he said.
"This means that airlines and governments can have full confidence in the test/vaccine results both from a content and identity perspective."
Earlier this month Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would introduce vaccine passports for international travellers.
"We will recognise and adopt the Commonwealth's existing digital Medicare vaccination certificate that is automatically generated for every vaccination," Mr Morrison said.
"That is something that is already there now. By the end of the month, it will be at another level which would see it being able to be incorporated in things like Apple Wallets and the like. We will put in place a digital vaccination authentication at border."
- News.com.au with additional Herald reporting