Lufthansa Group has announced that it will trial digital health passports on select routes from February 26 to make “travel easier in times of pandemic”.

The airline will initially trial the initiative on flights from Frankfurt to Istanbul, and from Newark to Frankfurt and Munich. In March, the service will be extended to Swiss customers on the Newark to Zurich route.

Customers travelling on these routes will have the option to upload their Covid-19 test results to the Lufthansa Group Health Entry Support Centre via an online portal. This service will be available as early as 72 hours before departure.

After uploading the required documents, they will be checked by the airline and customers will receive a confirmation email notifying them if the certificates meet the entry requirements. Customers will receive feedback if the documents are found to be insufficient for travel.

The airline emphasises that the original certificates must still be carried by passengers during their journey.

Lufthansa states that the initiative will allow customers to have “more planning security” and that it will speed up check-in and boarding processes.

Depending on the findings of the trial, the airline may roll this out to all flights, while “digital health passports are also to be integrated into the travel chain in the future”.

The airline also announced today that it will begin to operate a daily service between Frankfurt and Newcastle International on June 28, coinciding with the easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

Airlines around the world are piloting a range of digital health passports in order to restart international travel. British Airways recently extended its use of the Verifly digital health passport app to cover all inbound international flights to the UK, while the IATA Travel Pass is being trialled by airlines including Air New Zealand, Etihad, and Qatar Airways.

For a look at the pros and cons of “vaccine passports”, and the different options being developed, see our recent features: