American Airlines will begin offering preflight Covid-19 testing for select destinations, starting with Jamaica and the Bahamas.
The US carrier says it plans to expand the program to additional markets in the weeks and months ahead.
“The pandemic has changed our business in ways we never could have expected, but all the while, the entire American Airlines team has eagerly tackled the challenge of reimagining the way we deliver a safe, healthy and enjoyable travel experience for our customers,” said Robert Isom, president of American Airlines.
“Our plan for this initial phase of preflight testing reflects the ingenuity and care our team is putting into rebuilding confidence in air travel, and we view this as an important step in our work to accelerate an eventual recovery of demand.”
The airline will launch the testing programme at its Miami International Airport (MIA) hub in October. The initial phase of testing will be for Jamaican residents traveling to their home country. If a passenger tests negative for Covid-19 ahead of flying with American, the 14-day quarantine currently in place for returning Jamaican residents would be waived, according to the carrier.
American says “the objective is to open this testing protocol for all passengers traveling to Jamaica, including US citizens” however, “the timing of such a potential announcement is to be determined”.
The Bahamas and CARICOM (The Caribbean Community)
American says it also started working with the Bahamas and CARICOM to launch similar testing programs that would allow travel to the region. American’s next international program will be with the Bahamas and is expected to launch next month.
“Details on the protocols for that country will follow,” reads a statement from the carrier.
“As its initial preflight testing programs begin to launch, American is also actively engaged with CARICOM, an integrated grouping of 20 Caribbean countries, about expanding the program to additional Caribbean markets.”
Preflight testing for travel to Hawaii
American says it has been working with the government of Hawaii to “develop a series of options that fit the Hawaiian requirements for travel to the state”.
Starting October 15, the airline will begin a preflight Covid-19 testing program at its Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) hub for customers traveling to Hawaii, in partnership with LetsGetChecked, CareNow and the DFW Airport.
Beginning next month, American will offer three options for preflight testing to customers with flights from DFW to Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG):
- At-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional via virtual visit, with results expected in 48 hours on average, according to the carrier.
- In-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location.
- Onsite rapid testing, administered by CareNow, at DFW.
Testing must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure. Travellers who test negative will be exempt from the state’s 14-day quarantine.