The International Air Transport Association wants to restore passenger confidence in air travel with a phone application to verify COVID vaccinations and test records before flying.
"This is the way all vaccination testing (verification) will go in the future," association regional vice president Conrad Clifford said in a news briefing Tuesday.
After downloading the Travel Pass phone application, passengers create digital credentials showing they have been tested or vaccinated which are certified by an approved laboratory.
Customers then present the digital certificate on their phones to border control and airline staff to prove they meet the health requirements of their final destination.
The pass is modular and interoperable according to the organization's external relations regional director Vinoop Goel - meaning it can be used in tandem with these preexisting digital health verification tools.
For the most part, both regulators and airlines have responded favorably to the idea he said, but added that they had come up against some pushback from governments and remained in negotiations with South Korea - where authorities require a paper certificate showing a negative test result to enter the country.
The association's application joins a collection of similar verifications launched by governments and health authorities around the world including CommonPass and AOKPass.
Singapore's flag carrier tried the pass last year and Air New Zealand announced a similar pilot to launch on its Auckland-Sydney flight from April.
Association representatives didn't comment on the other airlines currently in discussion to trial the application but said to expect more announcements in the coming weeks.
"We expect widespread rollout once (the app) becomes official," Goel said.
Countries across Asia Pacific welcomed their first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine over the weekend and as mass public inoculation programs start, international travel for business and leisure will return.
Business as usual can't come soon enough for airlines across the region who remain crippled by pandemic-induced health restrictions and quarantine measures that dissuade travel.
Hong Kong-headquartered Cathay Pacific carried an average of just 981 passengers a day in January - the first time the daily average dipped below 1,000 since June.
"The main priority is getting the airline industry back on its feet," said Goel, who emphasized that the association doesn't see the application as a source of profits.