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Lufthansa, JetBlue and United Sign On for Alternate COVID-19 Digital Pass

middle-aged man using a smart mobile phone (Photo: iStock)

As IATA plans to release their digital travel pass platform in early 2021, a group of airlines are working with The Commons Project Foundation on their own health platform. The CommonTrust platform aims to help flyers share negative COVID-19 test results securely, without compromising their personal information.

In the rush to develop a digital health pass for international travelers, a race to launch first could be brewing between aviation giants. The Commons Project Foundation announced the development of their own health pass, CommonTrust, with the backing of Lufthansa, JetBlue and United Airlines.

CommonPass Gets Support from Airlines, Airport Council and World Economic Forum

One of several projects from the Commons Foundation, the goal of CommonPass is to allow flyers to verify their record of either a COVID-19 vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 PCR test. The group is working with airport test providers Collison, Prenetics and XpresCheck to transfer verified test results into their app, allowing travelers to provide documentation upon arrival.

After the first CommonPass trials by Cathay Pacific and United on international flights were successful, more stakeholders are now putting their support behind the digital platform. JetBlue, Lufthansa Group, and Virgin Atlantic all say they will roll out CommonPass as their preferred COVID-19 health platform for international flyers starting in December 2020. The app will be available to those flying out of Boston, Hong Kong, London and New York.

The airlines are joined by both the World Economic Forum and Airports Council International – World in putting their trust into CommonPass. ACI represents over 2,000 airports around the world, giving even more credit to their health app option.

“As the world works to overcome the pandemic, all countries face the challenge of how to reopen borders for travel and commerce while protecting their populations’ health,” ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said in a press release. “Key to this will be a globally-harmonized approach underpinned by cooperation and consistency between all players in the aviation industry.”

For aviation, COVID-19 PCR tests are considered the “gold standard” prior to departure. As it stands today, United Airlines and JetBlue both offer PCR tests for flyers prior to departure.

Dueling Apps Creates Potential Problems for Flyers

Although CommonPass is getting the support of a number of aviation stakeholders, they aren’t the only app in development aiming to help travelers verify their COVID-19 status. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) is also developing their own Travel Pass, with the goal of making it available in the opening months of 2021.

As a result, there may be no single standard for flyers, although all three airline alliances have called for a harmonized solution. IATA is working with International Airlines Group to develop their pass, which has a number of airlines in the Oneworld Alliance. While Lufthansa and United were charter members of the Star Alliance, Cathay Pacific is in Oneworld, while JetBlue is not a member of any alliance. The wide range of airlines working on different solutions could ultimately create customer confusion, as different airlines may require a different app to fly internationally in the future.

vargha December 1, 2020

How about we get on with life and stop finding new ways to increase tyranny while reducing personal freedom in our lives for a virus that maybe rises to the level of a bad flu?

AsiaTravel2019 November 29, 2020

This is what we don't need. Governments need to get get behind 1 of the standards and all the airlines need to adopt it, like PreCheck/Global Entry.

DEN November 27, 2020

While I applaud the effort and utility of this, it’s just another redundant repository of personal information that will eventually get hacked and any useful information sold. By just adding an additional few data fields, Airlines already have everything they need to do this themselves. Here comes the COVID 19 Test Record Tax added to our tickets to pay for this.....