Heathrow announced on Wednesday that it will provide fast-track lanes for fully inoculated arrivals to the UK.
The decision comes as part of the move from the airline industry to step up pressure on ministers to open quarantine-free travel to amber destinations (in the traffic light colour system set by the government).
Under a pilot programme to be launched this week, passengers from selected destinations will be able to upload their coronavirus vaccination certificate before boarding and upon arrival they will be escorted to dedicated lanes. This will speed up their passage through immigration.
Heathrow, together with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, the two airlines involved in the trial programme, said it was essential that there was no delay in implementing the changes.
Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “This pilot will allow us to show that 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 19 July.”
Grant Shapps, transport secretary in the UK, is expected to announce this week the government’s updated plans for travellers arriving from amber list countries which currently have to quarantine on arrival.
With cases continuing to soar due to the Delta variant, there are fears that a growing number of people abroad and in the UK could be required to quarantine once again, potentially damaging output just as the economy hopes to pick up pace.