Hong Kong Airlines to trial digital health passports

Using technology to create safe air travel in a post pandemic world.

Hong Kong Airlines will trial a digital health passport as part of the carrier’s ongoing contributions towards the safe reopening of borders and international travel.

Developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Travel Pass will provide travellers with easy access to COVID-19 entry requirements for their destination and accredited testing centres at their point of departure. The app also enables passengers to link their COVID-19 test results to a digital version of their passport created through the app.

Under this trial, Hong Kong Airlines will work closely with IATA to test its Lab App, a key module in Travel Pass. Passengers on a selected route will be invited to participate by first downloading the app and creating a digital profile before selecting a participating medical service provider for testing. A secure, encrypted channel will then enable the registered laboratory to verify the passenger’s identity and directly send the outcome of the COVID-19 test, or proof of vaccination to the traveller’s mobile device.

This will then be checked against IATA’s global registry of COVID-19 health requirements, a system used by the majority of airlines and airports globally, to ensure regulatory requirements are complied, before the passenger receives an “OK to Travel”, said Chris Birt director of service delivery at Hong Kong Airlines.

“Hong Kong Airlines has been working hard to make travel safe for our customers. We welcome the opportunity to contribute our inputs into the development of Travel Pass and will continue to support IATA’s efforts in leading the recovery of international travel,” he said.

Recently Hong Kong Airlines used a new e-Boarding Gate facility to clear passengers for boarding on a flight between Hong Kong and Taipei using a facial recognition procedure at the gate, without the need for documents.

Birt said these self-service facilities not only minimises contact with surfaces and interaction with people, it also offers a seamless kerb to gate experience and shortens boarding time.





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