British Airways is to launch wilful Covid-19 testing for travellers travelling from three US airports to the UK. British Airways news stated that the airline aims to convince government authorities that prior Covid-19 testing for travellers cut off the quarantine period.
American Airlines is also getting involved in the Covid-19 testing trial. Similarly, United Airlines are also following the same.
The authorities in the government are looking at how Covid-19 testing can help travellers arriving in the UK. As well as how it can reduce the time needed to self-isolate.
British Airways owner IAG was set against the idea of the quarantine period of 14-days inflicted toward passengers who arrive into the UK. Adding that it discourages travellers from flying and causes a direct impact to the airlines. Moreover, the airline is also trying to persuade the US government to open its borders to UK nationals.
They hope to begin the Covid-19 testing trials on 25 November. Passengers who are eligible for the free tests will be on these three flights below:
- American Airlines flight AA50 from Dallas Fort Worth to Heathrow.
- British Airways flight BA268 from Los Angeles to Heathrow.
- And British Airways flight BA114 from New York John F. Kennedy to Heathrow.
The passengers would be tested 72 hours before and their trip. If the passengers test positive before travelling, they will have to cancel or reschedule their flights. The passengers can rebook the flight at a later date without any surcharge. British Airways stated that they have decided to run the Covid-19 testing trial through mid-December. Ultimately, they would like to test 500 passengers.
Chief executive officer, Mr. Sean Doyle, who stepped into the role last month, said: “If we have a testing formula it gives people certainty from which they can plan.” He also added that he was “confident” that the airline would exemplify a test three days prior to travelling would make the quarantine process unnecessary.
The airport in Heathrow is already carrying-out rapid coronavirus tests. Mainly, for those travelling to destinations where proof of a negative result on arrival is required. This application comes in to play as airlines struggle with a massive slump in demand. This has cost the industry £64bn in lost sales worldwide this year.
The UK government has assembled a task force to look at how tests could lessen the 14-day quarantine period for people flying to the UK. However, travellers would need to self-isolate for at least a few days less than the required quarantine period in general.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The government’s Global Travel Taskforce is working at pace, with clinicians, devolved administrations and the travel industry to develop measures as quickly as possible to protect air connectivity and consider how testing could be used to reduce the self-isolation period.”