UK Airlines urge to test arrivals to cut Covid quarantine times. TravelSafe Systems agrees but advocates “if you want our tourists, we will test them before they leave but please test them on the way back”

There is an increasing number of calls from the travel sector to create a more robust system for testing travellers. TravelSafe Systems welcomes this development but, after seven months of the industry being torn apart by the virus, there is still no collective global approach for what is a highly interconnected industry.

The chief executives of British Airways, TUI, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic have written to the Prime Minister, warning him that major routes connecting the UK with important world centres are at risk unless passenger travel is increased.

They urged the Government to adopt a system similar to that in Germany, where passengers are tested on arrival, quarantined until they receive a result and released if it is negative. 

In the letter,  BA’s Alex Cruz, Virgin Atlantic’s Shai Weiss, TUI’s Kenton Jarvis, easyJet’s Johan Lundgren and Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, wrote: “We recognise there isn’t a single international approach but we believe a UK testing protocol, based on the German model, would stimulate significant demand while protecting public health.  It would play a critical role both in supporting US-UK connectivity but also in safeguarding connections with key European and other global markets.”

Having not pushed for mass airport testing, trade bodies Airport Council International (ACI) and airline trade group International Air Transportation (IATA) are now, according to Reuters, stating that “a test prior to departure could reduce the risk of importation by up to 90 per cent, enabling air travel to be opened up between a large number of countries, without a quarantine requirement,”

TravelSafe Systems has been campaigning for many months on the platform that the best collective approach is to adopt a global protocol of testing on departure.  More and more countries are now demanding proof of a negative test prior to departure and additional testing on arrival.  

There is an increasing realisation that the most effective way to create and sustain demand and to gain the confidence of government and travellers is to offer testing on departure.  

The benefits of using TravelSafe Systems are:

  • The LAMP system is a more suitable test to be used on departure or arrival as results are digitally delivered, on site, within 40 minutes with no requirement to use laboratories
  • The cost for each test is circa 38 euros, against the current $100-$200 per test.
  • iWarrant provides a secure digital certification whereas paper certificates can be forged.
  • Testing on the day or the day before departure ensures people are not infectious when they travel, creating safe ‘green zones’ and flights for airport staff, crew and passengers, boosting confidence
  • The travel experience inside the airport and on the plane is more comfortable and ‘normal’; no need for masks.
  • No quarantine on arrival. If the receiving country is concerned about the level of infections from the country of origin, tests can take place four days after arrival (now a UK SAGE recommendation).
  • Positive tests on arrival means all passengers and crew  must be traced and quarantined, placing the burden on the receiving country. Collaborative bi-lateral testing on departure between countries benefits both.
  • Mass departure testing creates a protective screen and provides global statistics and monitoring data  (WHO is calling for this approach)
  • The vast majority of travel is out and back within 2-14 days. Testing at both ends creates a suitable cycle to catch asymptomatic cases

TravelSafe Systems has created a desirable, feasible and viable solution and is ready to deploy multiple, paid for proof of concepts and scale for full delivery.

We believe that UK Government, airports, airlines and tour operators should take the lead and test on departure, asking receiving countries…”if you want our tourists travellers, please test them before they come back” …..Such a process does not need a lengthy bi-lateral discussion, just a quick phone call between two Heads of Government….

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