Airlines Are Introducing Their Own COVID-19 Testing Regimes

Air Canada is one of several airlines working on the implementation of rapid, effective COVID-19 testing at airports in the hope of reducing stricter travel restrictions.  Other airlines working on similar regimes include Etihad Airways, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.

The ID NOW Testing Kit in Trials by Air Canada

Air Canada A220-300
Air Canada A220-300 © Air Canada

Air Canada is hoping that effective rapid COVID-19 testing at airports will persuade the Canadian Government to consider testing as an alternative to mandatory 14-day quarantine.  The airline is testing the ID NOW testing kit on employees and customers.  It believes both are equally important to control the spread of the coronavirus.  Airline employees come into contact with thousands of passengers every day.  If these workers take regular tests it could help to prevent the spread of the virus.  Initial tests, which confirm the result within 13 minutes, have proved very successful.  ,

Drive Through Testing Scheme for Hawaiian Air Passengers

 Hawaiian Airlines has announced that it will start operating drive-through testing sites for COVID-19 from October 15th. These sites will be located near Hawaiian hubs on mainland America.  Any Hawaiian Air passengers who get a negative test result within 72 hours of arrival in Hawaii will not have to quarantine.  The speed of delivery determines the cost of these tests.  Hawaiian Air are working with Worksite Labs in an attempt to encourage visitors back to the islands.  The first two testing sites will be close to Los Angeles International Airport, and San Francisco airport.  Hawaiian Air has confirmed it is hoping to involve more testing partners to open more sites across the US.

Ohana by Hawaiian Airlines
Ohana by Hawaiian Airlines ©George Hall/Clay Lacy via Hawaiian Airlines

American Airlines Plans to Introduce Pre-Flight COVID-19 Testing for Specific Destinations

American Airlines sees collaboration with foreign governments as the way forward.  It plans to start this program with Jamaica and the Bahamas and will expand the programme to other areas in the coming months.  An initial testing program for passengers travelling to Jamaica is due to start in October.  The first phase will be for Jamaican residents going home.  Passengers with a negative COVID-19 test before flying with American Airlines will not need to self-isolate.  If this pilot is successful, the programme will be extended to all arrivals in Jamaica.

Etihad Airways Includes PCR COVID-19 Tests in Flights From Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways A330
Etihad Airways A330 © Nick Preston via Landor

PCR COVID-19 tests are included on all Etihad Airways flights from Abu Dhabi International Airport with the exception of services to China.  The airline is offering testing through the Life Medical Diagnostic Centres in the United Arab Emirates between October 1 and December 31. The test must be completed at 48 to 96 hours before departure.  Business and First Class passengers can choose to test from home.  The government has decreed that all travellers must produce a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to departure from Abu Dhabi as per government orders.

Do you see the different systems as an added complication to travel or a positive step forward?  Air your views in the comments.

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