United Airlines is to begin trialling a new digital health pass application, which will store COVID-19 test results – and eventually vaccination information – in a program that aims to see international borders re-open.
The program, named CommonPass, is a non-profit initiative backed by the World Economic Forum and Swiss-based foundation The Commons Project, and could assist governments to ease travel restrictions and quarantine requirements if successful.
“The goal of these trials is to demonstrate to governments that they can rely on someone getting tested in one country and present their credentials in another country,” Paul Meyer, chief executive of The Commons Project, told Reuters.
“The model only works if countries agree to trust health data from other countries.”
Volunteers aboard a United flight from London Heathrow to Newark Liberty International on Wednesday will be required to use the smartphone application to upload their COVID-19 test results, provided by a certified lab.
Passengers will also need to complete required health screening questions via the app, and will then be provided with a QR code that airline staff and border officials can scan.
According to those behind the project, the system hopes to build a network of trusted labs, so that test results and vaccination records can be easily verified across borders, replacing the current system of paper-based and potentially falsified health results.
The whole pilot program will reportedly be observed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with widespread deployment of the CommonPass system targeted for January 2021.
The United trial program follows a similar pilot by Cathay Pacific earlier this month, with other large international airlines already lined up to continue trials throughout November and December, according to The Commons Project.