As demand for air travel lowers in the pandemic, carriers implement several strategies to survive. It could mean wavering the change fees or boosting sanitation efforts and policies. But among the recent attempts include offering rapid COVID-19 testing to passengers.
Carriers Offering Coronavirus Testing
Last week, United Airlines announced that it will offer rapid COVID-19 testing to passengers going to Hawaii starting October. It makes them the first major American carrier to do so. Actually, the program would allow their passengers to skip the 14-day quarantine required by Hawaii officials.
A handful of airports are trialing quick-fire coronavirus tests as a possible way to revive international air travel https://t.co/EWlTFyN2vL
— Bloomberg (@business) September 27, 2020
Meanwhile, Fiumicino in Rome also launched a testing program this month. Moreover, London Heathrow also sampled three rival technologies. Also, CNN Travel said Hong Kong International also offered testing for passengers. However, they encountered problems in logistics.
Survival of the Air Travel
For the International Air Transport Association, a group of airlines from different countries, mandatory testing should be implemented. Alexandre de Juniac said that testing is ready. He serves as the director-general for the IATA.
De Juniac noted that passengers would want to undergo testing. “We need the system to work and work quickly,” the IATA director-general said during the World Aviation Festival. “Otherwise, this industry will not survive.”
The IATA said that left with quarantine measures alone, the industry could not recover.
However, IATA’s de Juniac acknowledged the problems of testing passengers. “Systemic testing will present logistical challenges and impact how people travel. But if you look at the reopening of borders, results have been dismally disappointing.”
Moreover, the rapid testing could give less accurate results, Bloomberg reports. It only looks for the virus’s proteins, thus making results quicker to process. But de Juniac said that the IATA’s airline members agreed with the rapid antigen tests. United will use this testing for the Hawaii route passengers starting October 15.