World's first Covid passport tested on flights from Heathrow this week

World's first Covid passport tested on flights from Heathrow this week

World’s first Covid passport will be trialled on flights from Heathrow this week in bid to let passengers travel without risk of quarantine

  • Heathrow test of app to let people travel the globe without quarantine risk
  • United Airlines and Cathay Pacific are trying out CommonPass software
  • The pass works by passengers taking a test at a certified lab before uploading it
  •  It generates a QR code that can be scanned by airline staff and border officials

Coronavirus passport trials are taking place at Heathrow this week to test technology to let people travel the globe without risk of being quarantined.

Passengers on United Airlines and Cathay Pacific are trying out an app called the CommonPass.

The phone software is a digital health pass which can hold a certified COVID-19 test status in a way designed to satisfy various governments’ different regulations.

It has been dreamt up non-profit trust the Commons Project Foundation, who hope it will end the days of flyers producing bits of paper, often in different languages.

The pass works by passengers taking a test at a certified lab before uploading it to their phone.

It generates a QR code that can be scanned by airline staff and border officials.

The system is being trialled with volunteers on flights between London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore under government observation.

The new app lets you upload your Covid test securely to show different countries

David Evans, Joint CEO of traveller pass company Collinson, said it could be a gamechanger.

He added: ‘As we come to grips with living with COVID-19, testing is the safest scientific method to reopen countries and borders.

‘However, as each country looks to find the right solution to protect their citizens, we know that the ability to demonstrate the validity of testing done upon arrival or before departure is key to reopening borders.

‘The Collinson and Swissport dedicated COVID-19 testing facility at Heathrow will support CommonPass’ trial by testing United Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways volunteers.” 

Passengers will be able to show the digital passport to authorities to give them assurance

Heathrow Airport is one of the locations for the testing of the new digital pass

Heathrow’s Process Improvement Director Mark Burgess said: ‘For some time now, Heathrow has been calling for the creation of a Common International Standard and cross-border pilots such as these could help governments across the world and the industry to unlock the benefits of testing in aviation.

‘We’re looking forward to reviewing the findings of these trials and using the learnings to support the recovery of an industry that provides so many jobs and economic opportunities globally.’ 

CommonPass says it adheres to tight privacy principles and is designed to protect personal data in compliance with relevant privacy regulations, including GDPR.

It was launched by the World Economic Forum and The Commons Project, in collaboration with a broad coalition of public and private partners around the world.

Dr Bradley Perkins, Chief Medical Officer of The Commons Project, said: “Without the ability to trust COVID-19 tests – and eventually vaccine records – across international borders, many countries will feel compelled to retain full travel bans and mandatory quarantines for as long as the pandemic persists.

‘With trusted individual health data, countries can implement more nuanced health screening requirements for entry.’

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