US, UK COVID-19 test trials began in hopes of reviving travel sector


Published: 2020-11-18 12:18

Last Updated: 2024-03-01 07:33

US, UK COVID-19 test trials began in hopes of reviving travel sector
US, UK COVID-19 test trials began in hopes of reviving travel sector

British Airways, American Airlines and Oneworld began a COVID-19 test trial on several flights from the United States and London in an effort to curb any further losses witnessed in the airline sector due to coronavirus. The trials are set to demonstrate how active testing can reopen travel routes without having to quarantine. 

The trial will have passengers as volunteers, and they will be tested free-of-charge three days prior to their departure from the US and three days after, demonstrating that tests conducted 72 hours prior to travelling will cancel the need for self isolation.

However, passengers will be required to to self isolate upon arrival, as per UK government regulations.

Initially, eligible passengers will receive free tests if they have booked American Airline flights from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to London Heathrow; British Airways flights from New York JFK to London Heathrow and British Airways flights from LA’s LAX to London Heathrow.

The first test will be conducted from the participant’s home using a test where a sample will be self-collected nasally under the supervision of healthcare professionals virtually.

Upon landing at London Heathrow, trial participants will be required to take their second test, which will be conducted by a healthcare professional.

A third test kit will be sent to participants at home to self-test using saliva samples.

Currently in the UK, government rules confirm that US flyers must self isolate for 14 days, regardless of having negative COVID-19 test results.

British Airways CEO, Sean Doyle, has said that the trial, which is set to run from Nov. 25 to mid-December, will “prove that [everyone] can restart flying safely without the need for a quarantine measure.”

“If we want to get the economy booming again, we need to get people travelling again," said Doyle.

“We know that travelling is safe... In fact data suggests the risk is very, very low," added Doyle, claiming that only 44 COVID-19 cases have been linked to travel over a time period where over one billion people travelled.

Doyle hopes to send this data from the trial to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.