UK and France plan Covid travel app to avoid holiday chaos - THE TELEGRAPH UK
JULY 22, 2021
Britain and France are in talks to roll out a “wallet” travel app to ensure holidaymakers have all the necessary Covid documentation before heading to the airport.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, met his French counterpart Jean-Baptiste Djebbari in Folkestone on Wednesday to discuss using an app developed by the owner of the Channel Tunnel to avoid chaos at the border.
Results of Covid testing, and proof of vaccination or herd immunity, are all stored alongside other information required for customers to travel such as passport details.
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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.
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, the owner of the Channel Tunnel, said: “It's the most advanced product for people crossing the border.”
Both ministers said the technology is “the most advanced even compared to airlines”, Mr Leriche added. “And so they wanted to understand what are the lessons learned and how they can support us to further improve the product.”
Meanwhile, Mr Leriche said that the Channel Tunnel would shift workers from France to the UK to manage potential staff shortages caused by the “pingdemic” during the peak August holiday season.
Although the company was not experiencing any difficulties with UK staff being told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid app, Getlink was uniquely positioned because it regularly used French staff in Britain and vice-versa to manage peaks in demand.
The remarks came as Getlink revenues fell 12pc to €326m for the first six months of the year. Pre-tax losses were €126m, higher than the €85m posted this time last year because it included the months prior to the pandemic hitting in March.
The losses were in line with City expectations.