Airlines are testing a new COVID-19 digital health pass so passengers can easily prove they've tested negative for coronavirus
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Starting this week, travelers from selected airlines will be able to download the CommonPass, a digital certificate that passengers can use to prove that they have tested negative for the coronavirus.
The CommonPass is supported by the World Economic Forum and can be downloaded to your phone.
The airline pilot program begins as the coronavirus pandemic has reduced demand for flights and over 32,000 U.S. airline workers are on vacation.
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The aviation industry is testing a new digital health passport that can help eliminate some of the headaches associated with traveling amid a pandemic.
Starting this week, travelers on select airlines will be able to download the CommonPass, a digital certificate that passengers can use to prove that they have tested negative for the coronavirus, the Financial Times reported. The digital pass can be accessed over the phone.
It is important that the CommonPass is not a vehicle for a COVID-19 test. Instead, travelers can simply access their test results or vaccination logs and show them the airline officials. The framework for the digital passport was developed by the World Economic Forum and the Common Project Foundation, a Switzerland-based non-profit organization.
"As it stands, travelers present their test results on pieces of paper - or photos of paper - without a standard format, often in a language that is alien to the inspectors," Paul Meyer, executive director of the Commons project, told Financial Mal.
United Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways are ready to try the digital health passport. They are tested while traveling to global destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, London and New York.
The October trials will be overseen by a handful of government agencies such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US border guards. The pilot programs begin as there is currently no formal international system of universal quarantine requirements.
"Individual national answers will not be enough to tackle this global crisis," said Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility at the World Economic Forum, to FT. "Bans, bubbles and quarantines offer short-term protection, but developed and developing countries need a long-term, flexible and risk-based approach."
There have also been other initiatives to make international air travel safer.
CLEAR, a biometric security company, announced that it is partnering with Quest Diagnostics to create the Health Pass. According to a press release, it is a new mobile app that combines a person's identity with "multiple levels of COVID-19-related intelligence".
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation industry has been devastating for many in the aviation industry. On Thursday, airlines in the United States began taking more than 32,000 employees across the country on leave as industry protection from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) expired.
The demand for travel dropped 97% at the beginning of the pandemic. Although demand rose slightly on holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, and even Labor Day last month, it had only reached 30% compared to 2019.
It is unclear whether and when additional government aid could arrive. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he had informed his team to suspend stimulus negotiations until the end of the November election. On Thursday, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi addressed the uncertainty surrounding business stimulus talks, saying that she would "support a stand-alone bill for airline aid only if accompanied by a larger support package".
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