Virgin Atlantic to begin health pass trials

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Virgin Atlantic has taken a major step forward towards the introduction of digital health passes by partnering with IATA Travel Pass and TrustAssure to launch two separate, complementary trials.

From April 16th, 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.

Using the app they can create a digital ID comprising 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.

In further progress towards end-to-end digital health integration, from today, 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.

The technology has already proven extremely effective in development and trials by Virgin Atlantic’s joint venture partner, Delta Air Lines.

Once confirmed, customers receive a QR code with a green verification, meaning they can proceed quickly through Check In.

Corneel Koster, chief customer and operating officer, Virgin Atlantic, said: “In parallel to the UK’s successful vaccination programme and accompanied by a risk-based, phased easing of restrictions, we can see a flightpath to soon allow the safe restart of international travel at scale, in time for summer.

“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.

“Governments, industry and technology companies need to work together to lead the adoption of digital solutions with global common standards that are accepted at borders.”

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