Weekly Travel News 24.11.21

Booster jabs added to NHS Covid Pass for international travel

Travellers will be able to show proof of a booster vaccination within the NHS Covid Pass for international travel.

Booster vaccination and third doses will automatically appear in the pass for people in England within five days of receiving the jab.

The Pass will show a 2D barcode for your full course of vaccinations in addition to your booster vaccination, with the most recent jab appearing first.

The government advises that you download an updated PDF version of your NHS Covid Pass, or store an updated version in your Apple Wallet, if you’re about to travel.

The government said that the proof of a booster will not be immediately available in letter format, but that this will be “updated in due course”.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid commented:

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to show their vaccine status if they are travelling abroad. This update to the NHS COVID Pass will mean people can have their complete medical picture at their fingertips if they are going on holiday or seeing loved ones overseas.”

This move comes after countries including Israel, Croatia and Austria introduced a time limit for the validity of the Covid vaccination for quarantine-free travel.

The government states:

“Some countries now require travellers to demonstrate that they have received two doses of a Covid-19 approved vaccination within 180 days, or a booster dose no less than 14 days before entering the country. You should check the Covid-19 status requirements of the country you intend to visit before planning your travel.”

People travelling into England will not be required to show proof of a booster vaccination. Additionally, at the time of writing, the booster jab is not being added to the domestic Covid pass.

The NHS Covid Pass launched in May and allows travellers to share their vaccination record when travelling abroad. It can now be used in venues in over 40 countries, including those in the European Union.

Business travel expected to fully recover by 2025

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has released its annual BTI Outlook, which predicts that business travel will fully recover by 2025.

The report projected a 21 per cent increase in business travel spending in 2021, with the majority of the gain expected to come at the end of the year due to the rollout of vaccinations and rise in consumer confidence. It also forecasts that there will be a significant pick-up in group meeting activity and international business travel in 2022.

Annual business travel spending growth is expected to slow down in 2023 but remain above historical average rates of growth of 4.6 per cent. By the end of 2024, annual business travel spending is expected to reach approximately US$1.4 trillion, which nearly equates to the 2019 pre-pandemic revenue peak of US$1.43 trillion.

Emirates to conduct a test flight using 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel

Emirates has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with aircraft engine supplier GE Aviation to conduct a test flight using 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel by the end of 2022.

The airline plans to operate a B777-300ER flight powered by GE90 engines using SAF. The test flight aims to show how wide-body commercial aircraft using jet fuel made from alternative sources can lower lifecycle CO2 emissions compared to petroleum-based fuels with no operational issues.

At the moment, the sustainable aviation fuel approved for use is a blend of petroleum-based Jet A or Jet A-1 fuel and a SAF component with a maximum blend limit of 50 per cent. One of GE’s fuel experts charts an international taskforce which is aiming to develop standardised industry specifications supporting the adoption of 100 per cent SAF, which does not require blending with conventional jet fuel.

Emirates first powered a flight by SAF in 2017 from Chicago O’Hare airport. It also received its first A380 powered by SAF last year, and flights from Oslo have also begun operating on SAF under the Norwegian government SAF mandate policy.

Adel Al Redha, COO of Emirates Airline, said:

“Emirates is committed to supporting initiatives that help minimise its CO2 emissions, and we’ve already made great strides in fuel efficiency and conservation as well as operational advancements across different areas of our business. Our agreement with GE Aviation will support progress on the industry’s collective commitment to net zero emissions, and we look forward to continuing this close collaboration. Our partnership with GE Aviation to prepare for the test flight will be an important step towards securing certification of flights that are powered by 100% SAF.”

John S. Slattery, President and CEO of GE Aviation, added:

“GE Aviation is committed to pursuing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from commercial aviation, including developing technologies for the fleet in service and the future of flight. This collaboration with Emirates is key to our efforts to standardize 100% SAF globally, which could provide a significant opportunity to expand the impact of SAF on aviation’s carbon reduction efforts.”

All GE Aviation engines can operate with approved SAF, which is made from plant oils, algae, greases, fats, waste streams, alcohols, sugars, captured CO2 and other alternative feedstock sources.

Manchester Airports Group serves 51 per cent of pre-pandemic traffic in October

Manchester Airports Group served over 50 per cent of pre-pandemic traffic last month compared to October 2019.

Manchester, East Midlands and London Stansted airports served a total of 2.7 million passengers in October. The latest figures mark six months of sustained growth in passenger numbers.

October 2021 signalled the first month since February 2020 in which both Manchester and London Stansted airports have each served over one million passengers.

MAG said that the increase in passengers was due to the half-term holidays and the “pent-up demand for international travel after more than a year of Covid-related disruption”. Indeed, the airports served one million passengers during the half term break alone, marking the busiest period since the onset of the pandemic.

Charlie Cornish, MAG CEO, said:

“These figures demonstrate clearly how the demand for international travel is ready and waiting for when restrictions are eased.

“It is hugely positive to have seen our traffic levels recover month on month, and the removal of costly barriers and uncertainty is giving consumers renewed confidence to get back to travel.

“We need to see this positive trend continue following the reopening of transatlantic services to the US in early November and as we continue to rebuild Manchester Airport’s network of direct long-haul connections.

“To ensure we continue on this path to a full recovery, we are calling on the Government to set out a clear ambition and plan for removing remaining restrictions on travelling abroad at the earliest opportunity.”

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