oneworld® Alliance, along with partners American Airlines and British Airways have launched an optional transatlantic COVID-19 testing trial towards the reopening of international travel. The trial seeks to demonstrate how COVID-19 testing can remove the need for passengers to quarantine on arrival.
Transatlantic COVID-19 testing trial
The optional COVID-19 medical-based testing trial will be offered on selected flights from the United States (US) to London Heathrow (LHR).
Starting 25th November, the free tests will be offered to eligible customers booked on:
- American Airlines flight AA50 departing Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW) to LHR
- British Airways flight BA114 departing New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) to LHR
- British Airways flight BA268 from Los Angeles (LAX) to LHR,
The test will be expanded to American Airlines flight AA106 from JFK to LHR, with a launch date to be advised.
The testing schedule:
Eligible customers booked on the selected trial flights will be contacted by American Airlines and British Airways with instructions on how to volunteer.
Each customer participating in the trial will take three tests in conjunction with the journey.
The trial for each individual passenger will comprise:
- An initial at-home test to be taken 72 hours before departure from the US
- this is a convenient at-home RT-PCR test provided by LetsGetChecked
- travellers will self-collect a nasal sample, under virtual supervision of medical professionals
- if the result is positive, the traveller must reschedule or cancel their travel
- A second test will take place upon arrival at LHR
- the LAMP test, provided by Collinson, involves the collection of a nasal sample by a medical professional
- A third test to be taken three days after arrival in the UK
- this test kit offers an at-home testing option, via self-collection of a saliva sample
The joint trial will offer free tests to passengers who choose to participate in the programme.
The three-test approach aims to validate a customer’s negative status for COVID-19 throughout the travel journey. This provides insight into the most effective and practical testing interval. The third test is intended to further confirm the results of the first two tests. This will demonstrate that one or two tests will be sufficient to allow travel to safely restart. The ultimate aim of the trial is to result in policies that further relax US and UK border restrictions, including the 14-day quarantine and entry into the US.
The transatlantic COVID-19 testing trial has assembled a task force comprising oneworld member airline representatives and independent medical experts to overseeing the implementation of the trial. American Airlines, British Airways and oneworld will closely monitor customer participation.
Sharing of aggregated task force results with the US and UK Governments and other stakeholders demonstrates the essential role that COVID-19 testing programmes can play in safely restarting travel. Flights have been reduced to a fraction of their pre-pandemic levels. The two carriers have gone from operating up to 111 flights a week from London to New York to as few as 14 flights per week combined, between the two cities.
…. American has already successfully introduced a pre-flight COVID-19 testing programme for customers travelling from the US to international destinations across the Caribbean and Latin America. We have received tremendous feedback from our customers in response to testing, as it provides peace of mind for safe and enjoyable travel. Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines
He believes the results provided by this trial will be vital for reopening transatlantic travel safely.
…. We know people want to travel but our skies remain all but closed and the UK is being left behind. Major economies like Germany are adopting testing to replace quarantine. CEO of British Airways, Sean Doyle
He added that British Airways is confident this approach will open routes, stimulate economies and get people travelling with confidence. The UK’s economic recovery depends on the swift reopening of its skies.”
…. “We believe that COVID-19 testing will play an important role in safely restarting international travel. Rob Gurney, oneworld CEO
Check out all oneworld Covid-19 related travel updates on their website.