Fully vaccinated holidaymakers are to get fast-track lanes at Heathrow under plans to open up quarantine-free foreign travel to amber list countries.
They will digitally upload their vaccination certificates in advance of their flight before presenting them on arrival and being directed to separate lanes at immigration to fast-track them through border controls and prevent queues.
British Airways, Virgin and Heathrow will launch the trial scheme by the weekend in a bid to persuade ministers to give the green light to quarantine-free getaways for double-jabbed travellers from July 19 in time for the school holidays.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is expected to announce on Thursday whether foreign travel for the vaccinated can open up on July 19 at the same time as domestic restrictions are lifted, or will have to be delayed. Government sources said July 19 was the “ambition".
The fast-track plan follows a meeting last week between Downing Street officials and the chief executives of BA, Heathrow and Virgin.
On Monday, Boris Johnson said the Government “will work with the travel industry” to remove the need for fully jabbed arrivals from amber countries to isolate.
Travel countries on the red, green and amber list
Fully vaccinated travellers from Athens, New York, Los Angeles and Montego Bay in Jamaica will be offered the chance to participate in the fast-track scheme. Their unjabbed children will also be eligible.
It will be open to Britons who will upload their NHS app or paper certificate, US travellers who only have paper certificates and EU citizens whose status is shown on new digital “green” passes.
Once approved, passengers can check-in online, reducing the time required to be spent within the airport. After landing at Heathrow’s terminal five, they will validate their credentials at the dedicated lane within the immigration hall.
It will dovetail with plans by the Government to integrate the NHS app into the current passenger locator form.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said: “This pilot will allow us to show pre-departure and arrival checks of vaccination status can be carried out safely at check in, so that fully vaccinated passengers can avoid quarantine from July 19.”
Mr Shapps is expected to phase-in the vaccination travel plan, starting with jabbed Britons, because of concerns over verifying the vaccination status of foreign travellers and the scope for fraud as a result.
British holidaymakers will still be expected to have a pre-departure test before flying back to Britain from an amber list country and pay for a PCR test on or before day two of their arrival.