Published on : Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Virgin Atlantic has partnered with IATA Travel Pass and TrustAssure to launch two separate, complementary trials of the digital health passes. Starting April 16, the airline will commence a one-month trial of the IATA Travel Pass on its popular London Heathrow-Barbados services, in close collaboration with the government of the Caribbean island, which will accept the pass at its border.
Customers travelling for permitted reasons on flights VS131 from London Heathrow to Barbados will be invited to participate in the trial by downloading the IATA Travel Pass on their smartphone. Passengers can create a digital ID using the app that will consist of their profile photo and passport information and upload their COVID-19 credentials, selecting relevant flight information.
The IATA Travel Pass is at the forefront of digital health pass solutions being developed, allowing customers to verify that they meet the health criteria needed to travel between certain countries, with evidence of a negative COVID-19 test. Future versions of the app will also incorporate vaccine records. The free app is currently being considered by governments around the world to support the restart of international travel at scale and Virgin Atlantic will seek approval from the UK government to expand the trial, to accommodate customers arriving at the UK border on Barbados-Heathrow flights.
Customers travelling to Virgin Atlantic’s US destinations will be able to verify COVID-19 test results digitally, utilising TrustAssure’s robust artificial intelligence-based solution. Each customer’s pre-departure test documentation can be securely uploaded via its mobile-optimised website, in advance of their flight, and validated, in less than two minutes. Once confirmed, customers will receive a QR code with a green verification, meaning they can proceed quickly through Check In. The technology has already proven extremely effective in development and trials by Virgin Atlantic’s joint venture partner, Delta Air Lines.
Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said in a statement that in parallel to the UK’s successful vaccination programme and accompanied by a risk-based, phased easing of restrictions, a safe restart of international travel for the summer can be foreseen. He mentioned that when the skies reopen; rapid, affordable testing combined with digital health integration will be vital to streamline and simplify the customer experience, make border health checks manageable and build consumer confidence. He also said the governments, industry and technology companies will need to work together to lead the adoption of digital solutions with global common standards that are accepted at borders.