Japan Airlines Launches Digital Health Passport Trials

Japan Airlines (JAL) has started trials with three health attestation apps – CommonPass, VeriFLY and the IATA Travel Pass. The objective of the health passport route is to reopen the borders without it being necessary to quarantine arriving passengers. This means having reliable and accurate information on the COVID-19 state of health of the arriving passenger.

JAL will use VeriFLY on its US routes. Photo: Getty Images

Being able to inform passengers of necessary tests, vaccines and other requirements before travel and being able to share test results in a secure and privacy-friendly manner is seen as essential to give governments the confidence to reopen borders. With this in mind, JAL will begin its own independent trials with three cutting-edge health applications to standardize digital health checks for passengers on its international flights.

CommonPass for Honalulu and Singapore

JAL will test the CommonPass application at its Haneda Airport (HND) -Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) from April 2, 2021, and on its route between Narita International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) from April 5, 2021.

Digital health release
COVID-19 travel apps appear to be the key to getting people flying again. Image: JAL

The aim of the trials is to introduce and expand digital health attestation platforms that can display a person’s COVID-19 health status on their mobile phone. Doing so will help achieve a quick and contactless check-in at the airport. In a statement released yesterday, JAL said it is committed to adopting key security measures to restore public confidence in air travel.

The different applications

CommonPass

CommonPass
The CommonPass offers verifiable proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19. Image: JAL

Developed by the World Economic Forum and the Commons project, the CommonPass validates the results of COVID-19 tests issued by medical institutions, meeting the entry requirements of the applicable country on a digital device.

VeriFLY

VeriFly
Iberia uses VeriFly on its routes to the United States. Image: JAL

Developed by biometrics and identity assurance software company Daon, VeriFLY is already in use on some routes between Japan and the United States. With the app, passengers can view / save / manage their own COVID-19 test results before traveling. VeriFLY will display the status of passengers ready to fly for smooth check-in.

JAL plans to introduce VeriFLY on all of its routes to North America this month and will announce its official launch in the coming days.

IATA Travel Pass

IATA Travel Pass
The IATA Travel Pass allows passengers to find information on travel, tests and vaccines.

Focused on government entry requirements, the IATA Travel Pass will help passengers easily and safely manage any coronavirus tests or vaccines needed to enter a specific country.

The IATA Travel Pass consists of four modules:

  • A global register of sanitary requirements
  • A global register of screening / vaccination centers
  • A laboratory app to securely share vaccination tests and certificates with passengers
  • A contactless travel app that allows passengers to create a digital passport and digitally manage their travel documents

With the IATA Travel Pass, passengers retain control of their data as no information is stored in a central database.

JAL plans to try the IATA Travel Pass on select international flights from May 2021.

Of the three COVID-19 travel apps, the IATA Travel Pass and CommonPass aim to be the global standard while VeriFLY is in practice in the United States and that is why JAL has selected the VeriFLY app for its US flights.

JAL says the collaboration with health attestation applications aims to provide a safe and secure travel experience for all of its passengers.

Will travelers need a COVID-19 passport?

While we can see how COVID-19 travel apps will help international travel, are they just the start of what could become the need for a COVID-19 passport? All of this points to a social divide between those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.

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Historically, vaccination certificates are not new, with many countries requiring proof that you have been vaccinated against diseases such as yellow fever and, previously, smallpox.
Austria, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, along with the United States and some Asian countries, are considering a COVID-19 passport as a way to get back to normal. On the other hand, France expressed its concerns regarding vaccination certificates / passports.

What do you think of travel apps for vaccines and the possibility of COVID-19 certificates / passports? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.


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