Cathay Pacific continues to demonstrate the viability of digital health passes by successfully conducting two live flight trials involving volunteer customers travelling between Hong Kong and Singapore using The Commons Project’s CommonPass app earlier this month. The adoption of digital health passes involving both COVID-19 testing and vaccination records will enable customers to fly with convenience and confidence, laying the groundwork for hassle-free international air travel. Cathay Pacific is the first airline to complete a trial with CommonPass involving both testing and vaccination records on an end-to-end, round-trip journey. It is also the first airline in Asia Pacific to trial the use of official vaccination records with customers in a live flight environment.
The volunteer customers used their personal vaccination and/or pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test records to create digital health passes using the CommonPass app. Customers on Cathay Pacific flight CX691, which departed from Hong Kong to Singapore on 6 July, used the Hong Kong SAR Government’s vaccine code (generated using the iAM Smart app). Meanwhile, those on Cathay Pacific flight CX690, which departed from Singapore to Hong Kong on 15 July, used Singapore’s HealthCerts PCR test result. The platform interpreted and validated these records against the travel rules for the customers’ itineraries and produced a digital health pass that showed their eligibility to travel.
Initial customer feedback during the trials indicated that CommonPass was easy to install and simple to use, with the vast majority saying they would be willing to use digital health passes in future. The longer-term objective is for digital health passes to replace the need for customers to carry multiple paper-based records when travelling. The trials were organised in collaboration with The Commons Project and the Airport Authority Hong Kong. These also follow the successful completion of digital health pass trials in March this year and October last year.
General Manager Customer Experience and Design Vivian Lo said: “We have been continuously striving to provide a seamless experience for our customers while they are travelling in a complex world of border-entry requirements and health certifications. We believe the use of digital health passes can significantly alleviate travel uncertainties, while providing greater reassurance and confidence to our customers. These trials will pave the way for the reopening of our international flight routes, while the collaboration with our trial partners has enabled us to demonstrate to our industry peers and the border authorities the functionality of digital health passes using testing and vaccination records authorised by the authorities.”
The Commons Project Executive Chairman Jennifer Zhu Scott said: “Vaccination records have become critical to safely reopening international travel. As our trusted partner from day one, Cathay Pacific has once again been a pioneer by being the first airline to successfully complete two-way trials during which customers used CommonPass to generate a digital health pass with their testing and vaccination records from local official registries. The Cathay Pacific team’s deep industry expertise, resilience and innovative spirit adds tremendous value to The Commons Project’s global effort in facilitating safe reopening by empowering individuals to control and manage their health data. We look forward to collaborating with Cathay Pacific further to benefit the airline’s customers around the world.”
Since early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathay Pacific has been researching ways to make travel easier and more accessible. In addition to its work with CommonPass, Cathay Pacific is a member of the IATA Travel Pass User Group. CommonPass is developed by The Commons Project, a non-profit public trust established with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, which builds and operates digital platforms and services for the common good. CommonPass is an application that enables individuals to securely prove their COVID-19 health status for travel and other purposes, without revealing other, extraneous personal data.
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