British Airways trials 25-second Covid tests for travel

Airline hopes rapid test will open up travel

Cathy Adams@Cathman
Thursday 13 May 2021 14:47
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British Airways is trialling a 25-second rapid Covid test ahead of the start of mass travel.

The Pelican Covid-19 Ultra Rapid test is a saliva-based digital antigen test that identifies 98 per cent of people who are infected and 100 per cent of people who do not have the virus.

The airline will trial the rapid test, developed by firm Canary Global, on flight crew to compare the results against standard testing. If successful, BA will roll out the technology on applicable routes.

Results are far speedier than either a lab-assessed PCR test or even a lateral flow test, which typically takes around 30 minutes.

Users deposit a saliva sample in a sensor unit, before shaking and inserting into a cartridge device. The reader is connected, via Bluetooth, to a smartphone, and the results will appear on a mobile app.

The Pelican test has been approved for use in Europe and the UK.

“As we start to see the opening up of travel we remain committed to exploring easy and affordable testing solutions to help our customers travel again, whether it’s for business, to reunite with family and friends or take a much-needed break abroad,” said Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO.

“We think this new ultra-rapid test is a game changer so we are delighted to work with the team at Canary to begin initial trials with our flight and cabin crew, before exploring what role it could play as a customer testing option.”

It comes as British Airways partners with test provider Eurofins to offer a discount PCR test for travel for £40.41.

The travel industry is gearing up for the beginning of international leisure travel on 17 May, which the government has permitted under a “traffic light” system.

Currently, Portugal is the only mainstream summer holiday destination on the “green list”, which doesn’t mandate quarantine on return.

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