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Austrian Airlines Launches Second Round of Preflight COVID-19 Testing Program With Mandatory Tests

The airline is expanding their preflight COVID-19 testing pilot program which started last month on a voluntary basis. The second phase of the program will start on November 12, 2020 on flights (OS171/OS172) between Vienna and Hamburg.

Austrian Airlines Airbus A320 - Courtesy Austrian Airlines

Today (November 5, 2020), Austrian Airlines announced an expansion of their preflight rapid antigen COVID-19 testing program started last month on a voluntary basis. During phase two, the free testing on Austrian Airlines flights (OS171/OS172) between Vienna and Hamburg will be mandatory, with a negative result required to board. The goal of the program is to hopefully replace onerous quarantine restrictions in the medium term with a sophisticated testing strategy. Please note that rapid antigen COVID-19 testing is not yet a replacement for PCR tests or government travel regulations.

The second phase of the program is being conducted in close cooperation with the Lufthansa Group as well as Vienna and Hamburg airports. Once a guest has taken their rapid antigen test, they will be notified within 10-15 minutes of the result either by SMS or in consultation with medically trained staff. The customer’s boarding pass will only be activated after a negative test result and if the result is positive, they will be taken care of by the airport medical staff. Naturally, gusts who test positive can rebook or cancel their Austrian Airlines flight at no cost. In Thursday’s announcement, Austrian Airlines’ COO, Jens Ritter, said,

“About 25 percent of the passengers volunteered to have themselves tested in the first testing phase. Our objective is to make quarantine regulations obsolete in the future on the basis of a sophisticated testing strategy. Mandatory tests are a further step on this path In the medium term, the hope exists that the use of rapid tests will lead to a loosening of the numerous travel restrictions and make travelling easier and possible to plan once again.

Also commenting on the testing program expansion, Flughafen Wien AG’s Member of the Management Board of the airport’s operating company, Julian Jäger, added,

"Economy and tourism urgently need more freedom to travel. We therefore need solutions that offer security and can be integrated into the travel process. Rapid antigen testing is a way out of the Covid-19 crisis. The test operation at Vienna Airport works very well and we are pleased that Austrian is now expanding this offer to the Hamburg connection.”

Testing will be conducted by medical personnel at both Vienna and Hamburg airports. Vienna International Airport’s testing center is in the check-in area of Terminal 3 (near counter 370) and no appointment is necessary. Prior to departure from Hamburg, guests can register online for an appointment to reduce their wait time. Passengers should arrive at the testing centers at both airports two hours prior to departure. As an alternative to the mandatory rapid antigen COVID-19 testing on the flights between Vienna and Hamburg, Austrian Airlines will accept a negative PCR test (taken within 48 hours of departure). Guests with a negative PCR test should also report to the testing center prior to departure. Flights which are part of the pilot test will be clearly marked on the Austrian Airlines website as “Covid-19 Tested Flights” for customer convenience. Additionally, guest will be notified before departure with a preflight email and check-in invitation.

Source: Austrian Airlines


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