British Airways plans app-based travel pass
London – British Airways is planning to make it easier for passengers to prove they are safe to travel once they have been vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19).
Under the plans, people who have had both jabs will be able to register their status on BA’s smartphone app.
The airline’s chief executive, Sean Doyle, hailed the United Kingdom’s “great progress” in tackling the pandemic.
Last month, BA owner IAG called for digital health passes “to reopen our skies safely”.
IAG’s boss, Luis Gallego, said at the time that the airline group wanted international common testing standards for travel.
The UK government has said it will give the go-ahead for a return to international travel on May 17 at the earliest.
The announcement prompted a flood of bookings, but it remains unclear which routes will be available.
BA’s move comes amid heated debate about the possibility that “vaccine passports” could become a feature of foreign travel and even be used within the UK to allow entry to places such as pubs or sports stadiums.
In his latest comments to journalists, BA’s Doyle said the UK should be a global leader in reopening international travel.
He urged the government to “set an example” and “be ambitious” in developing systems, including the use of digital technology to verify the vaccination and test status of passengers.
“We’re making great progress in Britain in dealing with the pandemic,” he said, pointing to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the success of the UK’s vaccination programme.
“It’s fair to say that Britain has developed a really strong leadership position in coming out the other end of the pandemic,” he said.
“What we want to make sure is that we also take that leadership position into restoring travel and restoring the economy.”
In another incentive for passengers, BA said it had already reintroduced free water and snacks on short-haul economy flights and that this policy would continue. (BBC)