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Eurotunnel Covid data app considered to free up cross-channel travel

Discussions have been held between the UK and France to use a travel app to ensure holidaymakers have all required Covid documentation before travelling.

The app developed by Channel Tunnel owner Getlink is being considered to avoid chaos at the border.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps met his French counterpart Jean-Baptiste Djebbari in Folkestone on Wednesday to talk about use of the technology

Results of Covid testing, and proof of vaccination or herd immunity, are stored alongside other information required for customers to travel such as passport details.

The app warns customers before they set off on holiday if they have not got all the required information.

The passenger “wallet” was offered to Eurotunnel customers two weeks ago to streamline border controls.

The technology was adapted from a similar system offered to hauliers to ensure they had the necessary sign-offs to cross the border after Britain left the EU earlier this year.

Yann Leriche, chief executive of Getlink, told the Telegraph: “It’s the most advanced product for people crossing the border.”

Both ministers said the technology is “the most advanced even compared to airlines”, Leriche added.

“And so they wanted to understand what are the lessons learned and how they can support us to further improve the product.”

The development came as the Eurotunnel company reported first half earnings down 19% year-on-year to €100 million on a 12% fall in revenues to €326 million.

Passenger traffic was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and travel restrictions put in place by various governments. However, Eurotunnel increased its car market share by 13 points to 78.8%.

Eurostar traffic was severely disrupted as a result of government travel restrictions.

Giving an outlook, Getlink warned “As long as the governments fail to take a stable long-term position on international travel restrictions, the group will not be able to provide guidance on its profit trajectory.”

Leriche said: “In the first half of the year we have delivered satisfactory results given the market conditions thanks to improved cost control and the implementation of our WAYforward transformation programme, focused on customer service and operational excellence.

“These have helped us to achieve a cash position of €549 million at the end of June, and to strengthen our environmental and operational advantages. The low immediate visibility therefore does not affect the underlying strength of the group in its various businesses.”

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