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Austrian Airlines and Vienna Airport Launch Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Testing Program

From today, Austrian Airlines’ guests traveling on flight OS 229 to Berlin will be offered a voluntary free of charge test, which provides results in less than 15 minutes. Presently, there is no replacement for PCR tests and the company is testing a new potential option.

Austrian Airlines Airbus A320 - Courtesy Austrian Airlines

Today (October 23, 2020), Austrian Airlines announced the launch of a rapid COVID-19 antigen testing program in coordination with Vienna Airport. Guests traveling on Austrian Airlines flight OS 229 to Berlin can now take the test voluntary and free of charge, with results in under 15 minutes. Currently, there is no alternative to PCR tests and official travel restrictions and the carrier hopes to dismantle barriers for the free travel of airline passengers. In the initial trial, which will take place between October 23rd through November 8, 2020, customers booked on flight OS 229 between Vienna and Berlin can take advantage of the service.

Vienna Airport has set up a testing center in the Terminal 3 check-in area. Once testing is completed, customers will receive their results within 10-15 minutes via SMS or by personal inquiry. The boarding pass for the flight will only be activated after a negative test result is achieved. If the test result is positive, the passenger will be taken care of by the airport’s medical service for further clarification of their condition. Austrian Airlines’ guests who test positive will have the option of rebooking or canceling their flight free of charge. In Friday’s announcement, Austrian Airlines’ COO Jens Ritter, said,

“The airplane is already the safest means of transport in the public transport sector. Nevertheless, we want to go one step further, and make traveling by air even safer. We have to dismantle the barriers created by the coronavirus over the past few months. 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.”

Also commenting on the ground-breaking testing program, Flughafen Wien AG’s Management Board Member, Julian Jäger added,

“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 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.”

Austrian Airlines will inform eligible guests of the testing option prior to departure via an e-mail and check-in invitation. Currently, the rapid COVID-19 antigen test does not replace the PCR tests mandated by health authorities so all passengers must continue to adhere to local entry regulations. The carrier still requires all customers to wear a facemask both at the airport and onboard flights, except for children under the age of six and guests with the appropriate medical regulation and negative PCR test (within 48 hours prior to departure).

Source: Austrian Airlines


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