Wayfarer TV: Emirates rolls-out rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers before flights

by James Wilkinson

Emirates has become the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers in a move that could get flights back in the air across the globe sooner than expected.

In coordination with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), passengers on a flight to Tunisia today (Apr 15) were all tested for COVID-19 before departing from Dubai and results were available within 10 minutes.

“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,” said Emirates Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha.

“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.”

Emirates said the airline’s check-in and boarding formalities have also been adapted with social distancing in mind. Protective barriers have been installed at each check-in desk to provide additional safety measures to our passengers and employees during any interaction. Gloves, masks and hand sanitisers have been made mandatory for all employees at the airport.

Passengers are also required to wear their own masks when at the airport and on board the aircraft, and follow social distancing guidelines. Emirates said it has also modified its inflight services for health and safety reasons.

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 the risk of interaction.

Cabin baggage are currently not accepted on flights and Carry-on items allowed in the cabin are limited to laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items. All other items have to be checked in, and Emirates will add the cabin baggage allowance to customers’ check-in baggage allowance.

The airline said all Emirates aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai, after each journey.