Two of the world’s biggest airlines will experiment with fast-track lanes at Heathrow airport for fully-vaccinated arrivals.
Under the system, passengers on four routes will upload their vaccination status prior to boarding.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic trial come as the aviation industry urges quarantine-free travel to the UK from lower-risk amber list countries.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is due to announce such a scheme this week.
The trial, scheduled to start this weekend, will permit passengers who are fully vaccinated and travel on shortlisted flights to Heathrow from Athens, Los Angeles, Montego Bay and New York to demonstrate proof of their vaccination status.
Those participating in the trial will still have to monitor all the rules according to the government’s traffic light system, book all the required tests, and quarantine if they come from an amber list country.
People taking part will be allowed to use a dedicated arrivals lane at the UK border.
It is expected the trial will “reassure” the government that airlines and airports can verify vaccine status away from the border, which would decrease pressure on UK immigration halls.
The trial will allow internationally recognized inoculation credentials, like the NHS app, CDC card, US state-level digital certification and the EU digital Covid certificate.
The move comes just days after the UK government declared that most lockdown measures in England would be relaxed from 19 July.
Earlier this week, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Mr Shapps would apprise MPs on international travel and removing “the need for fully-vaccinated arrivals to isolate when they return from an amber list country”.
However, as cases continue to increase in the UK, health experts have emphasized that no vaccines are 100% effective.
The most popular holiday destinations are presently on the amber list, implying that people must isolate themselves for up to 10 days on their return to the UK.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, informed the BBC’s Today programme: “At the moment the main barrier to people who have been doubly vaccinated travelling being allowed to do that, is being able to demonstrate to the government that we can check that they’ve had the vaccination already.”
“The trial that we’re starting later this week will allow us to demonstrate we can do that safely with 100% checks on double vaccination before people get on the plane.”
Sean Doyle, British Airways chief executive and chairman, further added that he was “confident” the trial would be successful.
“We look forward to providing the data that proves it’s simple for fully vaccinated status to be verified and to the Government meeting its commitment to get the country moving again,” he mentioned.
Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic chief executive, mentioned that the trial would show the industry’s readiness to “rapidly operationalise the new policy, and work with government and authorities to ensure it is smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the transatlantic corridor, without which £23 million is lost each day from the UK economy”.
In a joint statement, the companies mentioned the UK had “led the world with its successful vaccine programme”; however, they added it was “failing to reap the economic and social rewards” of other countries which are accepting fully vaccinated people without the need to quarantine.