UK officials to discuss EU’s plan for vaccine ‘digital green pass’ to revive foreign travel

Leah Sinclair
·3-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

British officials will discuss the European Union’s proposals for a vaccine passport, which Brussels hopes will revive international travel ahead of the summer holidays.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the "digital green pass," which will be set out this month would contain testing and vaccination data as well as information on recovering from Covid-19.

Department for Transport officials will speak to the EU about the approach it is planning for the 27-member bloc.

The UK Government has said that once more is known about the impact of vaccines, it could introduce a system to allow people who have had a jab to travel more freely internationally.

Officials want the UK to use its presidency of the G7 group of industrialised countries to help agree an international approach to the issue.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: "We have said that we are looking at the issue of vaccine passports.

"As you can expect, DfT (the Department for Transport) will work (with) and do speak to countries across the world in terms of how they may look to introduce passports."

The spokesman would not pre-empt the outcomes of the UK Government’s review.

But "of course you can expect us to speak to the EU and other countries on how they may implement any similar sorts of policies", they added.

Ms von der Leyen said the digital green pass "should facilitate Europeans’ lives".

She said: "The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad - for work or tourism."

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

It comes after a recent report from the Office of National Statistics examined the effect of Covid-19 on the UK travel and tourism industry.

The report, published last month, revealed monthly air passenger arrivals to the UK fell from 6,804,900 in February 2020 to 112,300 in April 2020 - a fall of 98.3 per cent.

Additionally, accommodation and travel agency businesses saw the sharpest decline in turnover during the first national lockdown, falling to 9.3% of their February levels in May 2020.

As the travel and tourism industry attempts to recover from losses sustained during the pandemic, travellers are being charged an extra £8.90 for outgoing flights from Heathrow airport.

The tariff is permitted with a “strict CAA protocol” that allows the hub to cover costs for utilities, baggage and check-in services.

The new per-passenger levy, or Airport Cost Recovery Charge, is due to be imposed for the rest of this year.

A Heathrow spokesperson told the Standard: “Heathrow makes absolutely zero profit from these services. The price is calculated purely to cover the cost of operating and maintaining the infrastructure that supports them.

“To ensure this remains the case, the fees are set in accordance with a strict CAA protocol, as well as being scrutinised and agreed with airport users – as was the case with this year’s charge.

“Low passenger numbers over 2020 as a result of COVID-19 meant we didn’t cover the costs of providing some services and translated into a price increase for 2021.”

Additional reporting by PA Media

Read More

EU leaders pave way for vaccine passports ‘by the summer’

Government urged to ‘act unilaterally’ over Northern Ireland Protocol

PM appoints Brexit negotiator Lord Frost as full cabinet member