Japanese airline begins trial of mobile app to certify passengers’ COVID-19 status

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Japan’s All Nippon Airways Co. on Monday began testing a mobile application to be used by passengers to certify their COVID-19 status, in a move towards the country’s potential issuance of “vaccine passports” aimed at making international travel smoother and safer.

The trial of the International Air Transport Association Travel Pass (IATA Travel Pass) will be conducted on the carrier’s flights connecting Tokyo with Honolulu and New York through June 6, ANA said.

“As it is important to create an environment in which passengers can travel with peace of mind, the aviation industry has high hopes for the IATA app,” said ANA executive Tadashi Matsushita, who is heading up the project.

The smartphone app, developed by a global industry body, works by displaying passengers’ polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results and vaccination status.

“IATA Travel Pass enables passengers to easily verify whether they meet the COVID-19 testing requirements of their destination and share their test results with airlines and authorities in a secure way,” ANA President Yuji Hirako was quoted as saying in a previous statement.

Passengers involved in the trial at Tokyo’s Haneda airport Monday said the process was smooth as they only had to show their phones and no other documents.

ANA has said that 32 airlines have committed to joining the trial, with the app similar to one previously tested called CommonPass, which has been developed with the involvement of the World Economic Forum.

CommonPass allows passengers to prove their COVID-19 status by having a QR code on their smartphones scanned prior to boarding a flight, and, ostensibly, in the near-future, making overseas travel digitalized and standardized for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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