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United Airlines will launch rapid COVID-19 test for passengers at Newark Airport



After the successful test in Hawaii, United Airlines plans to test passengers for the coronavirus and provide them with fast results at Newark Liberty International Airport, preparing for the test on a flight to London next month.

Did this coaxing traveler return to the sky? Based on the positive experience of similar tests conducted on flights between San Francisco and Hawaii, United Airlines officials are willing to give it a try. They said the number of passengers doubled in two weeks.

Aaron McMillan, Director of Operations Policy and Support, United Airlines, said: “We will launch the world’s first free Newark to London COVID-1

9 test pilot, providing free fast speed on selected flights from Newark to Heathrow Airport. Testing. “We guarantee that everyone on board will be tested negative. “

From November 16 to December 11, free COVID-19 tests will be provided to passengers on United Airlines’ 14 evening flights departing from Newark Liberty Airport and London Heathrow Airport.

The rapid molecular Abbott ID Now COVID-19 test will be conducted by Premise Health in the joint lounge in Newark to facilitate passengers who book in advance. Flight 14 operates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There is no test for the return journey from London to Newark.

Except for children two years of age and under, all passengers must be checked before boarding. Officials said that other arrangements will be made for customers who refuse to take the exam, such as arranging them to pass through different airports and rebooking flights on different dates.

Macmillan said that from the mandatory wearing of masks to the use of better HEPA-grade filters and enhanced cleaning procedures on airplanes, all other United Airlines safety regulations are still valid. He said that the assurance that everyone on the plane tested negative was an “additional layer” of safety.

However, officials hope that the government will accept negative test results based on the test results and the experience of the Hawaii test program, and eventually lift international travel restrictions.

United Airlines chief spokesperson Josh Ernest said that voluntary testing from San Francisco to Hawaii enabled passengers participating in the event to show evidence of a negative coronavirus test to Hawaii officials and bypass the 14-day quarantine there. Claim.

“The early returns have been very encouraging. In the two weeks since customers can use the test option, we have seen the number of people flying to Hawaii on United Airlines almost doubled compared to the two weeks before the test.”

Macmillan said that when booking a London flight, customers will be notified about the test requirements and will give them a link to make an appointment. After testing at the airport, they will wait for the result, which takes 10 to 15 minutes, and once they arrive, they can go to the boarding gate.

United customers participating in the test must still comply with UK quarantine requirements. But airline officials hope that the plan will build the confidence of government officials to waive regulations that require negative tests on passengers.

He said: “We will share the (planned) results with government officials (in the United Kingdom) and the United States.” “Customer testing can begin to reopen travel, not only in the United States, but also overseas. The reopening of international travel trade and trade has important potential. .”

The testing program in Hawaii has shown signs of doing so. On Tuesday, the governor of Hawaii announced a similar pre-flight test program, which will begin on November 6, for travelers between Japan and Hawaii. The test was conducted in one of 21 medical centers approved by the state.

Ernest said that Fed officials wanted to expand the plan, but knew they had to provide government officials with data and scientific proof that the test plan was effective before the restrictions were lifted.

Next step?

Earnest said: “We hope to open flights to and from (Newark and London), but also to other destinations.”

Joint officials must also assess the cost of testing. Now, airlines are absorbing it, like flights from Newark to Heathrow, or charging customers, just like flights from San Francisco to Hawaii. The increase in passengers may be the decisive factor. The official said.

Earnest said they want to launch the program in other airports in Washington, D.C., Dulles Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare, Denver and Los Angeles.

“We are eager to make testing more extensive.” He said: “The scope of regulations and requirements is very complex. We want to ensure that customers get the right tests at the right time. “

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Larry Higgs’ phone number is lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com.


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