British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Heathrow have teamed up to test an identification process in order to show that it is possible to quickly and simply identify who is completely vaccinated while landing in the UK.
Later this week, a plan identical to one already in existence for outbound travel to numerous nations will go into effect.
The UK proving trial allows inbound travelers of all nationalities to show proof of vaccination, and the airlines and Heathrow have stated that they will support the government’s plans to remove quarantine for double-jabbed passengers arriving from countries on the “amber list.”
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, will offer an update on the introduction of quarantine-free travel from amber list nations ‘later this week,’ with the policy expected to be implemented ‘later this summer.’
Fully vaccinated volunteers will show proof of vaccine status on selected flights from Athens, Los Angeles, Montego Bay, and New York to Heathrow as part of the trial, which aims to reassure the government that airlines and airports can check vaccine status “upstream” and away from the border, reducing further strain on UK immigration halls.
Participants in the pilot will have access to a special arrivals lane, as well as subsidized pricing for the necessary arrivals tests for British Airways customers.
Participants on arrivals from countries on the Amber List will continue to follow current limits, with anonymized data being provided with the UK government “at the earliest opportunity.”
The NHS app, CDC card, US state-level digital certification, and EU Digital Covid Credential are all internationally recognized vaccination credentials that will be accepted in the proving trial.
Customers on British Airways can verify their vaccine certificate via the VeriFLY app, and Virgin Atlantic customers can use a new digital uploader tool developed in collaboration with Delta Air Lines and powered by TrustAssureTM technology to validate their vaccine certificate.
The possibilities for customers to show immunization status will be “rapidly” increased as the proof-of-concept evolves, across physical, digital, and integrated media, including the IATA Travel Pass.
Germany was the latest country to affirm earlier this week that it will admit fully vaccinated UK visitors without the requirement for quarantine. Quarantine is not required in France, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, or Malta for fully vaccinated visitors, including US citizens.
In addition, the United States permits fully immunized residents to avoid self-isolation. According to the UK government’s own data, only 0.4 percent of test results from ‘green’ and ‘amber’ nation arrivals are positive, and none of them have a variation of concern.
Domestic flying has returned to pre-pandemic levels in the United States, with more than 157 million individuals – including 58 percent of US adults – completely vaccinated.
In the meantime, 86 percent of UK people have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine, with 64 percent having received all three doses.
Two doses of the vaccines provide 79 percent protection against becoming unwell from the Delta strain and reduce the chance of needing hospitalization by 96 percent, according to data from Public Health England.
British Airways chief executive and chairman, Sean Doyle, 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 traveling to a number of other countries outside the UK that 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.”
Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss, added: “To reap the benefits of the UK’s world-leading vaccine roll-out, the UK government must act now to remove self-isolation for fully vaccinated passengers arriving from ‘amber’ countries, and no later than the domestic reopening on 19th July.
“Our proof-of-concept trial on selected US and Caribbean routes demonstrates our readiness as an industry to rapidly operationalize the new policy, and work with government and authorities to ensure it is smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the transatlantic corridor, without which £23 million is lost each day from the UK economy.
“The UK is already falling behind US and EU and a continued overly cautious approach towards international travel will further impact economic recovery and the 500,000 UK jobs that are at stake.”
Heathrow has unveiled a new analysis from economics consultant CEBR, which it claims underpins the importance of aviation to the government’s Global Britain goals and may assist the industry to achieve a £204 billion boost to the UK’s commerce.
According to Heathrow, this will not be achievable unless the UK’s aviation industry is given government help to begin flying as soon as possible.
Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “This pilot will allow us to show that pre-departure and arrival checks of vaccination status can be carried out safely at check in, so that fully-vaccinated passengers can avoid quarantine from the July 19.
“In addition to this, the UK government must make progress on reopening travel between the US after a designated taskforce was established to look at this back at the G7.
“Heathrow is the main port for trade in goods and services with the US, the only country with whom the UK has a trade surplus. New research today demonstrates just how critical it is to the UK economy to get the passenger planes that carry those exports off the ground.
“This is a vital step towards delivering the Government’s ambitions for Global Britain and they now need to act fast.”
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