Airline pilots back ‘vaccine passport’ as way out of travel crisis

Airline pilots have backed the concept of a ‘vaccine passport’ after the government was reported to be working on the option to enable summer holidays to Greece.

The British Airline Pilots Association believes the UK’s apparent vaccine success could rescue this year’s holiday season and allow people to get away.

Greece is reportedly prepared to waive quarantine rules for tourists who can prove that they have been inoculated against Covid-19.

General secretary Brian Strutton said: “We know the vaccine is our way out of this pandemic, but it may also be out way out of the crisis for our travel sector.

“People are desperate to get travelling again, and if a vaccine passport is what is needed, then we fully support it.”

He added: “What would be better still is a globally-recognised vaccine passport. Many are working on their own version but we need a global solution to this global problem. 

“In any case, we hope the British vaccine passport will be ready to go soon so people can start booking with confidence and looking forward to jetting away on their holiday once again.”

Meanwhile, American Express Global Business Travel chief commercial officer Andrew Crawley demanded that the government’s focus “needs to be firmly on preparing for the restart of travel”.

He said: “When restrictions ease, we don’t want excuses, or clumsy processes, or to find out that there are fragmented standards for health passports and test certifications.

“There must be a plan to create consistent international regulations. There must be universal agreement on the accreditation of medical providers, and certification of vaccines and test results.

“A failure to prepare could have profound consequences for our economic recovery.

“Sweden, Denmark, Greece, the UK and others are all talking about developing their own health passports.

“It sounds promising, but there is significant risk without widespread alignment. How is the data obtained? What happens when a traveller arrives at the airport? Which country will accept what certification?”

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