Air New Zealand to trial digital COVID 'vaccination passport'

An Air New Zealand airplane waits for passengers at Wellington International airport on February 20, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

Air New Zealand will trial a digital travel pass to give airlines and border authorities access to passenger health information, including their COVID-19 vaccination status, the carrier said Monday.

The scheme, dubbed a "vaccination passport" by industry observers, is intended to streamline travel once borders reopen by allowing passengers to store their health credentials in one place.

"It's essentially like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines," said Air New Zealand chief digital officer Jennifer Sepull.

It relies on an app developed by the International Air Transport Association (AITA) and other airlines including Etihad and Emirates have already signed up for their own trials.

The industry body's senior vice-president Nick Careen said it was an important milestone in restarting international travel as global vaccine rollouts get underway.

"Governments can be confident that passengers who are 'OK to travel' are in full compliance of Covid-19 travel requirements," he said.

Careen said the app ensured privacy by giving users control of the health data they provided.

The Air New Zealand trial begins in April.