The trials will commence later this week, for passengers on select routes from the US, Caribbean and Europe into London Heathrow. The voluntary scheme will allow customers to present their Covid-19 credentials in digital or paper format, to allow for a swift and easy entry into the UK. The aim is to support the UK Government in lifting some of the most onerous restrictions for travellers arriving from ‘amber list’ countries.
Which flights are applicable?
The initiative will see fully vaccinated volunteers travelling on selected flights from Athens, Los Angeles, Montego Bay and New York to London Heathrow showing proof of their vaccine status. The trial aims to reassure the UK Government that airlines and airports can check vaccine status upstream and away from the Border, ensuring no further pressure in UK immigration halls. Those taking part in the trial will be able to use a dedicated arrivals lane at the border and British Airways customers will be able to access a discounted rate for the mandatory arrivals tests.
Internationally recognised vaccination credentials will be accepted in the proving trial including the NHS app, CDC card, US state-level digital certification and EU Digital Covid Credential. British Airways will also support customers’ vaccine verification through the VeriFLY app and Virgin Atlantic customers can verify their vaccine certificate through a new digital uploader tool, developed in partnership with Delta Air Lines and backed by TrustAssure™ technology. As the proof-of-concept develops, the options for customers to show vaccine status will rapidly be expanded, across physical, digital and integrated formats, including IATA Travel Pass.
Despite an impressively paced vaccination rollout, the UK is falling behind countries like France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta, all of which accept fully vaccinated travellers, including US residents, without the need for quarantine. The US also allows its fully vaccinated residents to avoid self-isolation. The British Government’s own transparency data also continues to show very low positivity in test results from ‘green’ and ‘amber’ country arrivals, with just 0.4% testing positive, and none of them had a variant of concern.
In the US, more than 157m people have been fully vaccinated – including 58% of US adults – with domestic flying returning to pre-pandemic levels, proving that flying is safe.
Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO and Chairman said:
“We need to act quickly to protect jobs, re-build the UK economy and reunite loved ones. We are already helping our customers show proof of their vaccination status when travelling to a number of other countries outside the UK which require it, and we’re confident we can make this happen for entry to Britain too, very quickly. We look forward to providing the data that proves it’s simple for fully vaccinated status to be verified and to the Government meeting its commitment to get the country moving again.”