Emirates has become the first airline to rapid test passengers for COVID-19 before allowing travelers to board a flight.
The Dubai airline, in partnership with the Dubai Health Authority, tested passengers on a repatriation flight from the UAE to Tunisia on Wednesday, April 15.
All passengers underwent blood tests at a testing station set up in the group check-in area of Terminal 3, Dubai International Airport.
Test results are available within ten minutes, allowing Emirates to clear each passenger before boarding.
Emirates plans to roll out this service on other flights as an additional precaution before allowing passengers to board flights.
“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,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates chief operating officer.
“We are glad to work with Emirates on the successful implementation of rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport for departing travelers,” added Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority.
Emirates has also adapted its check-in and boarding procedures in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Protective barriers have been installed at check-in desks to protect staff and travelers, and face masks and gloves are mandatory both at the airport and on board Emirates flights.
Social distancing rules are being applied in-flight with airline staff selecting passenger’s seats for them in order to follow best practice.
All Emirates aircrafts go through rigorous cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai, after each journey. The airline is currently operating limited repatriation outbound flights from Dubai with regular passenger services grounded until at least May 1.