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Virgin Atlantic to launch IATA Travel Pass and TrustAssureTM trials to accelerate digital health integration

  • 29 March 2021
  • News
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Leading International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass smartphone app to be trialled on Virgin Atlantic UK-Barbados services from 16 April. Virgin Atlantic will be the first UK airline to conduct a live trial of IATA Travel Pass.
  • Innovative TrustAssureTM solution available for customers travelling to US destinations from 29 March, offering quick, automated A.I. test verification
  • Secure digital health technology supports a smooth and streamlined experience, navigating global travel requirements from the palm of customers’ hands
  • Rapid, affordable testing and effective digital proof of Covid-19 credentials, including vaccinations, must be part of HMG’s Global Travel Taskforce’s risk-based approach to reopen skies.

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

From 16 April 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 Barbados Government, 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 29 March, customers travelling to Virgin Atlantic’s US destinations will be able to verify Covid-19 test results digitally, utilising TrustAssure’s robust artificial intelligence (A.I.)-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 using A.I., 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 tick verification, meaning they can proceed quickly through Check In.


Corneel Koster, Chief Customer & 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.”
“Our Barbados trial with IATA Travel Pass is an exciting step towards a ‘digital health pass’ as we actively explore secure solutions to integrate testing, vaccination, health documents and locator forms into our customer journeys. 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 A.I.-powered test verification for US-bound customers.”


A reminder:
  • Virgin Atlantic is currently operating passenger services for essential trips between London Heathrow and New York-JFK, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston and Atlanta.
  • The United States currently requires all international arrivals by air to have evidence of a negative PCR, LAMP or Antigen Covid-19 test taken within three days before departure.
  • Virgin Atlantic currently operates a twice-weekly Barbados service for essential trips, including repatriating citizens and Barbadian nationals returning home. The Caribbean country currently requires all arrivals from the UK to present a negative PCR test taken within 3 days of departure followed by a second PCR test following 5 days of quarantine in approved accommodation.

FAQs
Will Virgin Atlantic adopt the IATA Travel Pass or TrustAssure for all operations?
We are currently exploring options with several leading providers for digital health integration, to allow customers to carry effective digital proof of their Covid credentials. The IATA Travel Pass and TrustAssure’s verification solution are among those under consideration.

We believe digital health passes are crucial to reopening travel at scale and we’re working with governments to encourage adoption and acceptance at borders, based on global common standards. A one stop shop for customers to collect, store and verify documents in a secure app will ultimately make journeys easier for people as they return to the skies.


Are customers only allowed to fly if they have a vaccine?
All customers can continue to make essential, permitted journeys by following the relevant travel restrictions in place for their origin and destination countries. In advance of your departure, it’s really important to ensure you check the latest travel restrictions in place before you go to the airport, including eligibility for entry and Covid-19 testing rules. All of the destinations in our network currently require a pre-departure Covid-19 test. You should check our restrictions by destination guide: https://flywith.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/news/coronavirus/travel-restrictions.html.

If I’m on an eligible flight for these trials, do I need to participate – is it mandatory?
Both trials are voluntary and both necessitate possession of a smartphone. To participate in the IATA Travel Pass trial, customers will need to have an Apple iOS device and a biometric passport. Not participating in either the IATA Travel Pass or TrustAssure trial has no impact on your ability to travel. Further information about the IATA Travel Pass can be found here: https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/travel-pass-mediakit/


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