America, British Airways and oneworld ban together
by Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva
American Airlines, British Airways and oneworld are experimenting with transatlantic COVID-19 testing. The optional COVID-19 testing trial is happening on select flights from the United States (US) to London Heathrow (LHR).d
The aim is to scientifically demonstrate how COVID-19 testing can reopen international travel. And in doing so remove the need for passengers to quarantine on arrival.
Availability of tests
The tests are initially available starting Nov. 25 om American Airlines flight AA50 from Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW) to LHR. Also on British Airways flight BA114 out of New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) to LH. And, British Airways flight BA268 from Los Angeles (LAX) to LHR. , The test kick off on American Airlines flight AA106 from JFK to LHR, at a later date.
Customers participating in the trial will take three tests. If a participant tests positive, they should reschedule or cancel their travel.
The first test, a is an RT-PCR is taken at-home 72-hours prior to departure.
Arriving in UK
After landing at LHR, a second test called LAMP is given at the airport. This test involves the collection of a nasal sample by a medical professional.
The third test offers an at-home testing option of a saliva sample taken three days after arrival in the United Kingdom (UK).
American Airlines, British Airways and oneworld will closely monitor customer participation. The task force will share aggregated results with the US and UK Governments and other stakeholders to demonstrate the essential role that COVID-19 testing programmes can play in safely restarting travel.
As of now international travelers arriving in the UK from the US must self-isolate for 14 days even if they have tested negative for COVID-19. The tests being used as part of the trial will not impact UK National Health Service testing capacity.
British Airways and American Airlines have worked with Heathrow on implementation of the trial in to Terminal 5, and as a result Heathrow is now exploring whether trials can be introduced on more routes between the airport and the US.
“The UK is a critically important business and leisure destination that our customers want to visit. We believe the results provided by this trial will be vital for reopening transatlantic travel safely,” says Doug Parker chairman and chief executive of American Airlines.
Chief Executive of British Airways, Sean Doyle, adds, “We need the UK Government to introduce a system that allows travelers to take reliable, affordable tests before departure, so they are confident that fellow passengers are COVID-free. For people arriving from countries with high infection rates, a further test on arrival should then release them from quarantine.
“We are confident this approach would open routes, stimulate economies and get people travelling with confidence. The UK’s economic recovery depends on the swift reopening of its skies.”
Oneworld’s chief exec Rob Gurney saya: “We believe that COVID-19 testing plays an important role in safely restarting international travel. This comprehensive testing provides governments the confidence to reduce or waive quarantine requirements. It also helps to safely reopen economies to international visitor. And further assure customer protection.”
IATA says it’s safe to fly
While many people are on the fence about flying during this pandemic, data from IATA suggests the risk of contracting COVID-19 on aircraft is extremely low.
A study by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that a robust, multi-layered strategy can effectively reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during air travel. The study also shows that face coverings are essential in reducing COVID-19 transmission while traveling by air. What’s more, there are no reports of COVID19 transmissions on US airlines.