Emirates starts rapid-testing passengers for coronavirus before flights

The Gulf carrier said it was the first to conduct the rapid blood tests.
The Gulf carrier said it was the first to conduct the rapid blood tests.PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI (BLOOMBERG) - Emirates has started testing passengers for Covid-19 before they fly out of Dubai, in an effort to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Passengers on Wednesday's (April 15) flight to Tunisia underwent a blood test before departing Dubai, according to the statement sent by the airline. Results were available within 10 minutes.

The Gulf carrier said it was the first to conduct the rapid blood tests. It plans to extend the procedure to other flights, according to chief operating officer Adel Al Redha.

The move will provide immediate confirmation for passengers travelling to countries that require Covid-19 test certificates, he said.

Etihad Airways, another major airline in the United Arab Emirates, plans to deploy new touchless self-service devices at its hub airport in Abu Dhabi to identify travellers with medical conditions, including the early stages of coronavirus.

The tests may offer one way to get travellers back in the air with some peace of mind.

Airlines across the globe have had to halt flights and ground their fleets due to restrictions and a lack of demand while countries try to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Air Transport Association estimates the industry may suffer more than US$300 billion (S$427 billion) in lost revenue this year.