Lufhansa antigen testing

Lufthansa launches free COVID-19 antigen rapid tests on selected routes in Germany

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Lufhansa antigen testing

Lufthansa has launched COVID-19 antigen rapid tests on selected routes between Munich and Hamburg.

In partnership with Munich and Hamburg airports, as well as biotech company Centogene and the Medicover Group’s medical care centre, MVZ Martinsried, Lufthansa is offering its customers the opportunity to be tested free of charge before departure on two daily flights as of 12 November. Those who do not wish to be tested will be transferred to an alternative flight at no additional cost.

Upon completion, customers will receive their test results within 30 to 60 minutes and only on presentation of a negative test will the boarding pass be activated and access to the gate be granted. Alternatively, passengers can present a negative PCR test taken no latest than 48 hours at departure. Lufthansa takes care of the entire testing procedure with no hidden or extra costs for the passenger. Passengers are simply required to register in advance and allow a little more time before departure.

“With our test strategy, we are pursuing the goal of using the data obtained to gain important insights into the use of rapid tests. Successful testing of entire flights can be the key to revitalising international air traffic,” says Christina Foerster, Lufthansa Group Executive Board Member for Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility.

Cathay Pacific aircraft over Hong Kong

Airlines help CommonPass Digital Health Pass to enable safer travel

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Cathay Pacific aircraft over Hong Kong

Swiss-based non-profit, The Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum have unveiled international trials for digital health pass CommonPass, by Cathay Pacific Airways and United Airlines.

For Cathay Pacific Airways, the first internal trial is planned for a flight between Hong Kong International Airport and Singapore Changi International Airport, using rapid testing technology provided by Prenetics.

For United Airlines, the first airline to trial the platform in the US, volunteers will use the service for flights between London Heathrow Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

Deployments are planned with additional airlines and routes across Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East in quick succession.

CommonPass is built on the CommonPass Framework that establishes standard methods for lab results and vaccination records to be certified and enables governments to set and verify their own health criteria for travellers.

To use CommonPass, travellers take a COVID-19 test at a certified lab and upload the results to their mobile phone. They then complete any additional health screening questionnaires required by the destination country.

With test results and questionnaire complete, CommonPass confirms a traveller’s compliance with the destination country entry requirements and generates a QR code. That code can be scanned by airline staff and border officials. A QR code can be printed for users without mobile devices.

CommonPass adheres to tight privacy principles and is designed to protect personal data in compliance with relevant privacy regulations, including GDPR.

For governments, CommonPass and the CommonPass Framework provide a more reliable means of assessing the health status of incoming travellers and gives them the flexibility to adapt their entry requirements as the pandemic evolves, including whether and what type of lab tests or vaccinations to require.

“Individual national responses will not be sufficient to address this global crisis,” said Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility at the World Economic Forum. “Bans, bubbles and quarantines may provide short term protection, but developed and developing nations alike need a long-term, flexible, and risk-based approach like CommonPass.”

The goal of the trials is to replicate the full traveller experience of taking a test for COVID-19 prior to departure, uploading the result to their phones, and demonstrating their compliance with entry requirements at their departure and destination airports.

“Our goal is to test and refine a system that would best support the progressive and safe re-opening of travel, through the adoption of a trusted and harmonised global framework” said Lavinia Lau, Director Commercial of Cathay Pacific Airways. “The CommonPass framework can incorporate specific requirements of individual countries and governments and can be used to provide more assurance to travellers as well as the population of destination countries.”

“CommonPass also helps travellers stay up-to-date with and adhere to evolving government entry policies,” Lau added.

“Testing is a key component of a multi-layered approach to safely reopening travel,” said Steve Morrissey, United’s vice president, regulatory and policy. “Trials with solutions like CommonPass are critical to demonstrate the potential for testing as an alternative to blanket quarantine measures or travel restrictions, while we continue to focus on the safety and health of our customers and employees.”

A masked Virgin Atlantic crew member

Virgin Atlantic introduces on site pre-flight Covid-19 testing trial for crew

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A masked Virgin Atlantic crew member

Virgin Atlantic has become the first UK airline to introduce COVID-19 pre-flight testing at its Heathrow base for its cabin crew and pilots. Launched at the end of September on flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong, the airline plans to extend the trial to Barbados and select services later in October, before a wider roll out to test every operating crew at least once per month.

In partnership with GeneMe UK, official distributor of the FRANKD test, the airline trial is offering crew and pilots a rapid Point of Care COVID-19 RT LAMP test. In independent laboratory tests, FRANKD is shown to be 100% specific and 97% sensitive to detecting SARS-CoV-2. Through integration with the digital ID platform Yoti, the test process is fast, secure, paperless and does not require a lab. After a swab is taken on site, results are processed and delivered on the Yoti app within 30 minutes.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic commented: “While the COVID-19 testing landscape evolves, we continue to be in discussions with multiple providers offering different technologies to guarantee the best solution possible, while absolutely ensuring that we do not compete with the NHS for vital resources.

“This trial is a first step in our phased plan to introduce regular testing for all of our teams in the air and on the ground, in order to instil confidence in flying. However, we continue to call for the swift introduction of a wider coordinated passenger testing regime. We need urgent action from UK and US governments to introduce pre departure testing, to remove the need for quarantine and to minimise travel restrictions, while protecting public health and half a million UK jobs associated with the sector. As long as the UK’s 14-day quarantine is in place, demand for travel will not return and the UK’s economic recovery, which relies on free-flowing trade and tourism, cannot take off.”

Delta crew member hands out hand sanitising wipes

Delta expands testing programme

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Delta crew member hands out hand sanitising wipes

Delta has partnered with CVS Health to accelerate employee COVID-19 testing with a rapid-response option for flight crews.

The CVS Health Return Ready testing will be overseen by a CVS Health clinician at Delta hub crew lounges and takes fewer than 15 minutes to diagnose whether the active COVID-19 virus is detected.

“Just like there’s no single method to reducing the transmission of the virus, there’s no one solution to testing our global workforce that is always on the move,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer.

The rapid-response nasal-swab test is the newest testing option Delta is providing employees so a baseline understanding of the infection can be established across Delta.

“It’s not feasible right now for everyone to take a test every time they walk out the door,” Smith said. “That’s why our baseline testing is so important, and we’re grateful to have partners who share our values and our vision to make testing easy and accessible to all Delta employees. We intend to use what we learn from this round of testing to make sure our re-testing program is one that continues to instill confidence among our people and with consumers about travelling with Delta.”

Paramount Business Jets customers to benefit from expedited COVID-19 testing capabilities

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Private jet charter broker Paramount Business Jets (PBJ) has partnered with The COVID Consultants to offer expedited pre-trip COVID-19 testing.

“At the moment, we are able to guarantee a 24-hour turnaround from when the sample arrives at the lab, which is the fastest turnaround in the country,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Dana Lerman, co-founder of The COVID Consultants.

Under this partnership, clients may arrange testing through the expert charter consultants at Paramount Business Jets at the time of booking their private jet charter experience. The COVID Consultants then sends a home testing kit via next-day shipping, along with detailed instructions for providing a test sample and returning it to the lab.

Negative test results are sent via email along with a copy of the US Federal Drug Administration emergency use authorisation to demonstrate the passenger’s compliance with official requirements.

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 is contacted by The COVID Consultants to reiterate US Centers for Disease Control recommendations and provide guidance on when to go to the hospital, if necessary.

Jamco America highlights extensive testing capabilities

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Jamco America has unveiled extensive testing capabilities for a variety of industries including aerospace product testing.

Jamco America’s dynamic test facility is one of only a small number of FAA-accepted facilities in the US. Equipped with an accelerator-type impact system, the facility is capable of testing products in highly specified acceleration profiles. It also includes extensive sensors and data acquisition technology to maximise information generated and processed from each testing profile.

Test facilities include mechanical properties, static load, fire properties, ballistic, and environmental testing, as well as a complete, FAA-accepted dynamic test facility.

The materials testing lab is ideal for earlier phases in the design process, when it is necessary to evaluate the mechanical properties of new materials, particularly metals and advanced composites. This test facility can evaluate the tensile strength, compression strength, and other key mechanical properties at room temperature and elevated temperature profiles.

Image: Jamco’s acoustic studio.