last evening the Aviation Minister, Robert Courts MP, made a written
Ministerial Statement confirming the implementation of Pre-Departure testing
for international passenger arrivals to England effective from 04:00
on Friday 15 January.
legislation is part of the International Travel Regulations (valid until 07
June) and must be reviewed every 28 days. The first review period will
therefore take place in time for the end of the lockdown period. It is expected
that the Devolved Nations will align with the legislation for England for a
consistent UK approach.
Ministerial statement in full is on this link https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-01-11/hcws696
the interests of urgency, we note some details from a briefing below as we
await the full Guidance Notes expected later this morning.
following BAR UK observations from the briefing are:
- Application: A negative COVID test taken
within 3 days prior to departure to the UK applies to all adult passenger
arrivals except from the Common Travel Area (CTA). Children under 11
years and under exempted. Very limited other exemptions apply.
We understand the legislation is being drafted as 3 days but guidance may
also refer to 72 hours. It was felt 3 days is easier to calculate across
time zones and that some testing centres do not time stamp. Details in
exemptions: A list of overseas territories/countries where
the DfT has evidence that a test cannot be readily accessed will be
maintained online: Currently just St Helena, Ascension Island and the
Additionally, a limited time window
extension until 04.00 Thursday 21 January for Antigua and Barbuda, St
Lucia and Barbados.
standard: Test must be of a diagnostic-standard test such
as a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, and could in some cases
include LAMP and Lateral Flow tests within set limits. This will be
detailed in the Guidance.
certificate: The test certificate will be available in
English, French and Spanish from the outset. Overseas providers can
utilise their own certificate provided it encompasses all the UK required
data fields. Evidence of certificate can be via hard copy or digital
means. Details in the Guidance.
Transit passengers: Passengers in transit over the UK are included
and therefore must present a negative test certificate and complete the
PLF. We will continue to seek a review on transit requirements based on
en-route: Passenger transiting via a hub to the UK apply
the 3 days (72 hours?) from departure of the final flight sector into the
UK. There could be some cases where ‘reasonable excuse’ could be applied
for multiple sector very long duration journeys to the UK. Passengers
stopping over would normally require a new test certificate at the
stopover destination if the 3 days (72 hours?) will expire. We await
details of how transit via the CTA will be managed. We welcome evidence of overseas experience and passenger
flows regarding Transit that could be incorporated in the first policy
update: A minor update will be made to the PLF
requesting confirmation that the passenger is aware of the requirement
for a negative COVID test certificate and include the relevant links.
Crew Exemption: Ministers recognised the importance of flight
crew exemptions. Full details will be published in the Guidance.
penalties: Passengers face a £500 penalty for
non-compliance if they arrive in the UK with no test certificate.
Airlines should refuse boarding to any passenger not holding a negative
COVID test certificate issued within 3 days (72 hours?) of scheduled
departure time of immediate flight sector into the UK. The CAA will be
responsible for carrier enforcement and a carrier penalty per passenger
carried to the UK who is non-compliant will be applied (amount TBC). Paul
Smith at the CAA recognises the significant challenge to airlines,
particularly in the early stages, and we would expect leniency. BAR UK
and other trade bodies have pushed back hard on the principle of carrier
Boarding: The CAA to issue separate guidance advising
carrier exemption from passenger compensation under EC261/2004 where a
passenger does not meet UK health requirement legislation.
and Diversions: The legislation will allow for ‘reasonable
excuse’ that will accommodate and instances of delay of diversion of
who test positive: It is recognized that passengers who test
positive and can therefore not travel will be subject to the local
requirements in the country where they are located. In most instances
they should make their own arrangements for isolation or treatment.
Certain conditions of carriage or package travel situations may include