Delta is to become the first airline in the US to introduce an international contact tracing app for passengers in a bid to make travel safer in the era of COVID-19.

Delta partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop the app, which will be rolled out on December 15. Under the system, passengers traveling to the US from an international location will be asked to voluntarily provide basic information that will help streamline contact tracing and subsequent public health follow-up efforts.

The news of COVID-19 vaccine success is causing a spike in travel searches

All Gates signpost at Los Angeles Airport
The information will be securely shared with the CDC  ©narvikk /istock/Getty Images

Information requested includes the passenger's full name, email address, address in the US, and a primary and secondary phone number. The five points of information will be securely transferred to the CDC upon passengers' arrival, thus reducing the time it takes to identify, notify and isolate people potentially infected with COVID-19 from travel. If enough people use exposure technology, it can slow the spread of the virus.

"We want customers to feel safe when they return to travel, and this voluntary program is another way we can provide additional reassurance to customers and employees alike," said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer.

Cleaning hands
Airlines are coming up with new ways to make travel safer in the era of COVID-19 ©Getty Images

The news comes as it's announced that major airlines are set to join a new digital health pass scheme to make international travel easier. JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic have all signed up to the CommonPass app, which is set to be introduced later this month.

Meanwhile Delta will soon launch quarantine-free flights between the US and Italy. A trial flight is scheduled on December 19 for travel between Atlanta and Rome.

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