Virgin Atlantic launches IATA Travel Pass trial at London Heathrow

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Virgin Atlantic has launched a one-month trial of the IATA Travel Pass at London Heathrow Airport, in close collaboration with the government of Barbados, to enable passengers to use the health passport when traveling to the Caribbean island.

From April 16, passengers traveling for permitted reasons on flights VS131 from 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.

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.

Corneel Koster, chief customer and operating officer at Virgin Atlantic, said, “In parallel to the UK’s successful vaccination program 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.”

In further progress toward end-to-end digital health integration, from March 29 customers traveling to Virgin Atlantic’s US destinations will be able to verify Covid-19 test results digitally, using TrustAssure’s robust artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution. Each customer’s pre-departure test documentation can be securely uploaded via its mobile-optimized website, in advance of their flight, and validated using AI, in less than two minutes. Once confirmed, customers receive a QR code with a green verification, meaning they can proceed quickly through check in.

“Our Barbados trial with IATA Travel Pass is an exciting step toward a ‘digital health pass’ as we actively explore secure solutions to integrate testing, vaccination, health documents and locator forms into our customer journeys,” Koster added. “Building on the success of the development by our partners Delta and TrustAssure, and in line with our innovative spirit, we are also proud to join a partnership with CLX Health to deliver industry-leading AI-powered test verification for US-bound customers.”

Read more about the IATA Travel Pass initiative in the April 2021 issue of Passenger Terminal World.

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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