Hot on the heels of the UK government announcement of the scrapping of self-isolation for fully vaccinated travellers from amber list countries comes news of a pilot scheme to fast track double-jabbed travellers at Heathrow.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow airport are trailing a scheme to fast-track fully vaccinated travellers from amber list destinations by using dedicated arrivals lanes.
The trial starts on July 10 and applies to flights from Athens, Los Angeles, Montego Bay and New York and proof of vaccination can be supplied via the NHS app, a US issued CDC card, US state digital certifications and the EU digital Covid certificate. Under the scheme, passengers on these four routes will be able to upload their vaccination status before boarding.
The intention is to reduce pressure on UK immigration halls and if successful, the trial would “reassure” the government that airlines and airports can check vaccine status away from the border.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, told the BBC’s Today programme:
“At the moment the main barrier to people who have been doubly vaccinated travelling being allowed to do that, is being able to demonstrate to the government that we can check that they’ve had the vaccination already.
“The trial that we’re starting later this week will allow us to demonstrate we can do that safely with 100% checks on double vaccination before people get on the plane.”
In a joint statement, BA and Virgin Atlantic said that the UK had “led the world with its successful vaccine programme”, but was “failing to reap the economic and social rewards” of other countries which are accepting fully vaccinated people without having to self-isolate.
Travellers will still have to follow all the rules according to the government’s traffic light system which entails book all the required tests and quarantine if they come from an amber list country until this changes in August.
As many popular holiday destinations are on the amber list, travellers must isolate themselves for up to 10 days on their return to the UK.