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Austrian Airlines extends mandatory Covid-19 tests

30 November 2020; Wienna, AUSTRIA

  • Until 15.12. all persons on board the Hamburg flights (OS171/OS172) are tested
  • Antigen rapid test still free of charge
  • Currently no complete PCR replacement, in some cases already accepted
  • Austrian Airlines COO Jens Ritter: „Until a vaccination is available on a large scale, we are continuing to work at full speed on our rapid test offer.”
  • Vienna Airport Executive Board Member Julian Jäger: “Antigen rapid tests are an important step towards greater freedom of travel.”

Austrian Airlines extends the test phase for mandatory free Covid-19 antigen rapid tests: Until December 15, 2020, all passengers and crew members on Austrian Airlines flights OS171 (Vienna-Hamburg) and OS172 (Hamburg-Vienna) will be tested for Covid-19 prior to departure. This ensures that all persons on board have been tested negative for Covid-19. Since the start of the pilot project on November 12, Austrian Airlines has been able to build up experience and practice in integrating the rapid tests into the travel chain. An extension of two weeks shall provide further insights in order to offer the test service on a larger scale in the medium term and to extend it to other routes in the Austrian Airlines network. The aim is to combine freedom of travel and health protection by using rapid tests and to achieve a long-term relaxation of the numerous entry restrictions.

“The announcement that a vaccination will soon be available offers reason for hope. But until it is available on a large scale, we are continuing to work at full speed on our rapid testing offer”, explains Austrian Airlines COO Jens Ritter.

The free Covid-19 antigen rapid tests are performed in close cooperation with the Lufthansa Group and the airports in Vienna and Hamburg, where an on-site testing infrastructure has been established. Passengers receive their test results after only 10 to 15 minutes. In the event of a positive test result, the affected passenger will be taken care of by the medical team for full clarification. Further steps will be specified with the responsible health authorities. A free rebooking or cancellation of the Austrian Airlines flight is possible in this case. In addition, passengers with a positive test result can benefit free of charge from the AXA Partners product “Tested Flight Care”.

“Our obligatory testing offer on the Hamburg flights has been accepted positively throughout. In November we tested a total of around 600 passengers and the respective crews”, says Austrian COO Jens Ritter. “Travel is a basic human need, and even a pandemic will not be able to slow it down in the long term. If we offer passengers and authorities even more safety when traveling, the demand for air travel will also increase again. However, for this we definitely need a common solution within the European Union.”

“The antigen rapid test trial, which is being conducted jointly with Austrian Airlines, is proving to be very successful and shows that these procedures can be very well integrated into the travel process. In order to get economy and tourism back on track, there is an urgent need for a Europe-wide coordinated test strategy with the widespread use of these test procedures. Even if vaccination is already in sight, it will still take some time for the vaccine to be widely used internationally. Antigen rapid tests are therefore an urgently needed way to increase freedom of travel”, said Julian Jäger, Member of the Executive Board of Vienna Airport.

The rapid antigen test does not yet fully replace the PCR tests required by the authorities. However, there are already a few exceptional cases regulated by the authorities in which rapid antigen tests are accepted upon arrival. In any case, passengers must still observe the 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.

Passengers who do not wish to be tested can also rebook their tickets to another flight or cancel the tickets at no charge, by contacting the Austrian Airlines Service Center.

Source : Austrian Airlines

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