Austrian Airlines has made this announcement:
• Results available after no more than 15 minutes – no replacement for PCR tests and official travel regulations at present
• Austrian COO Ritter: “The objective is to dismantle barriers created by the coronavirus and make travelling even safer.”
• Member of the Vienna Airport Executive Board, Jäger: “Comprehensive use of rapid antigen tests could allow passengers to travel freely”.
The large number of travel restrictions have made it difficult for airports and airlines to ensure stable flight operations in the past few months. For this reason, in cooperation with Vienna Airport, Austrian Airlines has defined the goal of showing how one can integrate rapid testing into the passenger’s travel chain. The Lufthansa Group is working with partners on processes enabling intercontinental mobility and the freedom to travel, also during the coronavirus pandemic, while maintaining health protection. The findings derived from test operations in Vienna will be integrated into the overall project being implemented by the Lufthansa Group. “We have to dismantle the barriers created by the coronavirus over the past few months, COO Ritter emphasizes. “For the future, our objective is to achieve corresponding loosening of travel restrictions. However, first we aim to show how a targeted testing program can work”, he explains. If the trial runs become well established, the tests could be offered on a larger scale. Julian Jäger, Member of the Management Board of the airport operating company Flughafen Wien AG, adds: “The entire tourism and travel industry urgently needs future-proof solutions to get out of the crisis. Rapid antigen tests provide a quick result and can be well integrated into the operational process of an air travel. Nationwide use at airports and by airlines within the framework of a Europe-wide uniform testing regime could enable the freedom of travel for passengers, which is important for economy and tourism”.
Passengers will be informed about the testing possibility before departure via a preflight e-mail and check-in invitation. At present time, the rapid Covid-19 antigen test does not replace the PCR tests mandated by health authorities. This means that all passengers must continue to adhere to local entry regulations. The obligation to wear masks on board Austrian Airlines flights as well as at airports remains in force, with the exception of children under the age of six and passengers who can present the appropriate medical declaration as well as a negative PCR test (with the results not older than 48 hours).