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A Hong Kong Express Airbus A320neo. (Photo: Howard Pulling via Wikimedia Commons)

HK Express Completes CommonPass Trial

HK Express announced on Monday that it has completed its first flight trial using CommonPass.

By securely validating and storing Covid-19 tests and vaccine records, the digital health passport application will enable passengers to easily comply with health-related entry requirements globally, while still simultaneously streamlining the HK Express pre-departure experience.

The trial took place on May 6 at Hong Kong International Airport, where HK Express flight UO172 departed for Taichung, Taiwan. A volunteer team of pilots and cabin crew used the CommonPass digital health passport application as part of the international trial.

Prior to the test flight, the volunteers had each set up a user profile and took individual Rapid RT-PCR Covid-19 test 24 to 72 hours before departure. These tests which were analyzed by a dedicated laboratory: Prenetics.

Results were then received within twenty-four hours via the CommonPass application, which allowed for the volunteers to present upon reporting for flight duty.

The application protects users’ privacy by keeping all personal identifiable information on each user’s mobile device and requiring only the minimum amount of Covid-19 related data.

Digitalizing the Future of Travel

Making use of advanced digitization, the trial was described as a turning point in travel as it opens the door to a more convenient, stress-free post-pandemic travel experience by offering passengers a seamless pre-departure experience.

The application also helps to ensure easier passenger compliance with government entry requirements that differ from place to place and can change on a daily basis.

“Our international flight trial with CommonPass marks an important milestone for HK Express, as we embrace new technologies that will help the industry emerge from the pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever,” said Mandy Ng, CEO of HK Express.

“The adoption of universally recognized digital health passports will not only grant passengers more control of their health data but also offer a sustainable solution for airports and airlines to slowly and carefully resume operations,” Ng added.

Hong Kong International Airport has also been collaborating with other major hub airports and airlines around the world to facilitate the adoption of using digital solutions to tackle potential pandemic challengers such as trustworthiness of paper reports, various entry requirements across places to help reduce long queues for passengers and labour for airline and security staff, per a press release published by the airport.

Vivian Cheung, Executive Director, Airport Operations of the Airport Authority at Hong Kong International, said, “As Covid-19 tests and vaccinations are poised to become new essentials for air travelers in the future, a digital solution is required to effectively integrate this new requirement into the existing digitalized travel process, from laboratory to check-in and to landing.”

“Resumption of air travel in a safe way is our top priority. Traffic recovery is hard to be sustainable with manual handling of the paper records without error to match the requirements of each country, which could also be changed from time to time.  We will continue to work with the industry partners including the Government to make HKIA to be one of the first airports in the world to adopt digital health pass solutions,” added Cheung.

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