AviationNews Wrap: Tracking efforts to reopen global travel through digital passes.

Airlines ready to fly in the face of pandemic

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Scoot is currently trialling a new digital platform for Covid-19 tests and verification at check-in.
Scoot is currently trialling a new digital platform for Covid-19 tests and verification at check-in.

New digital initiatives being trialled by Scoot is offering customers Covid-19 pre-departure tests (PDTs) and a more seamless process when verifying their test results.

A complimentary online portal which launched 17 March allows Scoot customers departing on flights from Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong SAR to book PDT appointments with recognised and accredited partner clinics, make payment for the tests, and receive results in digital form within 36 hours.

The solution has been created and managed by Collinson, a global leader in the provision of traveller experiences, including medical assistance, to travellers.

The portal may be accessed via the Scoot website or mobile app during and after passengers book their flights.

PDT results obtained through the portal bear QR codes which can be authenticated digitally, streamlining verification and strengthening the integrity of the process.

To this end, Scoot is trialling a digital verification solution from Affinidi, a Temasek-founded technology company, at check-in for selected flights from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

By scanning the QR code with a secure app, check-in agents are able to quickly and reliably determine the authenticity of digital or printed Covid-19 test results bearing a verifiable QR code, issued by selected clinics.
The portal builds upon the pilot recently launched for Singapore Airlines, Scoot’s parent company.

Singapore Airlines customers departing from the UK are now able to book their pre-departure Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) via a dedicated online booking portal, also operated by Collinson.

The expansion sees the UK become the fourth Singapore Airlines market to benefit from accessing 36-hour turn-around pre-departure tests, as part of an ongoing pilot for customers based in Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific completes trial of digital pass on Hong Kong-Los Angeles flight
Cathay Pacific completes trial of digital pass on Hong Kong-Los Angeles flight

Cathay staff pass the test in LA

The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA), together with Cathay Pacific and Los Angeles International Airport, have successfully conducted a trial of a digital health pass at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

Cathay Pacific pilots and cabin crew volunteered for the trial, using the CommonPass app and pre-departure rapid PCR test records to create a digital pass that included their name, travel document number, and confirmation that their negative COVID-19 PCR test result was within the prescribed timeframe and conducted at accredited labs.

Upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport, the role-playing passengers presented their digital health pass to local staff for validation and entered Los Angeles successfully.

HKIA has been collaborating with major hub airports around the world to facilitate the adoption of digital solutions to tackle challenges such as trustworthiness of paper reports, entry requirements across countries and regions and long queues for passengers for document check.

Green for go in Europe

Europe’s aviation sector has welcomed a proposal by the European Commission for a Digital Green Certificate system.

The proposal requires EU States to issue common, inter-operable and mutually recognised certificates for Covid-19 vaccination, testing and recovery status.

Industry associations, including IATA, see the certificates as a key tool to facilitate a safe and efficient resumption of travel and tourism in Europe

The certificate will be available, free of charge, in digital or paper format. It will include a QR code to ensure security and authenticity of the certificate.

US travellers warm to air travel

Active travellers in the United States less concerned about air travel, according to research by J.D.Power, reported in the New York Times.

Travellers also support continued safety measures, as well as proof of vaccination as a means to transition back to “normal”.

For the first time since summer 2020, more customers are “unconcerned” (25%) about being exposed to Covid-19 while travelling, compared with those who are “extremely concerned” (15%), the survey found.

“While there’s still a fair amount of concern about being exposed, 58% of respondents expressed moderate-to-little concern. That should make airlines very bullish about the second half of 2021, when the mass availability of vaccines could render travel restrictions obsolete,” the report noted.

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