British Airways is set to trial Covid-19 tests for passengers on selected flights between the US and London Heathrow.
The airline has teamed up with American Airlines and oneworld for the venture, which hopes to “demonstrate how COVID-19 testing can reopen international travel and remove the need for passengers to quarantine on arrival”.
The tests will be offered to passengers on flights including some currently scheduled in November on routes between London and Dallas/Fort Worth as well as New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.
Passengers on the selected flights can choose to volunteer for the programme – the airlines are currently contacting those due to fly to see if they want to take part.
Any passengers who sign up will be offered the tests for free – and the trials won’t use any NHS testing.
There will be three tests for passengers;
- An at-home RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departure (provided by LetsGetChecked)
- A LAMP test on arrival at London Heathrow Airport (provided by Collinson)
- A third test three days taken at home, three days after arrival into the UK (passengers will be given free test kits)
British Airways and American Airlines say that, pre-pandemic, they operated routes to over 30 destinations in the US from London between them – but right now they’re flying “a fraction of that figure).
Previously, the carriers operated up to 111 flights a week from London to New York; now they operate 14 flights per week combined, between the two cities.
Chief Executive of British Airways, Sean Doyle, said: “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.
“We need the UK Government to introduce a system that allows travellers 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.”
Visit ba.com for more information.
At the time of writing, the Foreign Office advises Brits against all but essential travel to the USA. Meanwhile, British nationals cannot enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil or China within the previous 14 days. You can find out more in the FCDO USA travel advice.