HeathrowCovid quicktest

Digital health app to be tested from Heathrow next week

A new digital health app is being trialed on flights from Heathrow, UK, next week in a move to cut quarantine and enable safe COVID-19 air travel.

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Travellers flying from Heathrow Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport on United Airlines flights will be among the first in the world to trial the new digital health app.

Passengers volunteering to take part in the trial will be required to take a COVID-19 test at a certified lab at Heathrow up to 72 hours before they fly and complete health questionnaires required by US border authorities.

The test results will then be uploaded to the CommonPass smartphone app, which will be scanned by airline staff and border officials.

It’s hoped the app, the CommonPass system, will streamline test results, check-in, and border processing.

The CommonPass app has been developed by The Commons Project, a US non-profit public trust.

It is also being tested on passengers on a voluntary basis flying with Cathay Pacific between Hong Kong and Singapore.

Traffic fell in September, with a loss of 5.5 million passengers over the course of the month.

Just over 1.2 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in September, down 82% compared to 2019.

Most travel is to the remaining European destinations on the UK’s travel corridor list. However, the number of countries on this list has steadily declined since its launch, with 61 countries now requiring a 14-day quarantine period.

Long-haul business travel, which is vital for the UK’s economic recovery, continues to be restricted by international border closures and a lack of testing. York Aviation estimates that the UK economy is losing £32 million a day because air travel with the US is effectively closed.

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