In a move that could be a step toward making air travel available to the public again, Aviation giant Emirates has launched a 10-minute coronavirus blood test for passengers departing from Dubai
The testing began with passengers on a flight from Dubai to Tunisia on Wednesday.
Emirates says it is working to scale up testing capabilities and extend it to other flights. It says its testing could also be used to provide confirmation for Emirates passengers traveling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates.
Emirates has become the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers. The health and safety of our passengers and employees is of paramount importance, and will not be compromised. @DXB @DHA_Dubai #FlyEmiratesFlyBetter #COVID_19 #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/c443NU6bvA
— Emirates Airline (@emirates) April 15, 2020
Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer said: “The testing process has gone smoothly and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Dubai Health Authority for their initiatives and innovative solutions. This would have not been possible without the support of Dubai Airport and other government authorities. We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates. The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance.”
The testing accompanies other changes on Emirates. Cleaning and disinfection of planes will take place in Dubai after each flight, passengers are now required to wear masks when at the airport and on board the aircraft, and follow social distancing guidelines.
Magazines and other print reading material will not be available, and while food and beverages will continue to be offered on board, packaging and presentation will be modified to reduce contact during meal service and minimise risk of interaction. Cabin baggage are currently not accepted on flights. Carry-on items allowed in the cabin are limited to laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items.
Etihad Airways, which is also based in the United Arab Emirates, said last week that it is trialing new kiosks that can monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of a person checking in for a flight or dropping a bag. If there are signs of illness, the kiosk will suspend the check-in or drop-off and alert a staff member. The kiosks are being tested at the airport in Abu Dhabi.