In what it’s claiming to be a world first for airlines, Emirates has conducted on-site COVID-19 tests for passengers before an international flight.
Passengers due to depart Dubai to Tunisia on Thursday were all tested by Emirates, in coordination with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), for COVID-19 before their departure.
According to the airline, tests yielded passenger bloodwork within 10 minutes, with the procedure conducted by the DHA at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 group check-in.
Emirates is now looking at how to scale-up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, chief operating officer Adel Al Redha said in a statement.
According to Al Redha, this would enable Emirates to conduct on-site tests and “provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates”.
On top of incorporating COVID-19 testing, Emirates’ check-in and boarding formalities have also been adapted with social distancing in mind.
Protective barriers have been installed at each check-in desk to provide additional safety measures to passengers and employees during any interaction.
Gloves, masks and hand sanitisers have been made mandatory for all employees at the airport.
Passengers are also required to wear their own masks when at Dubai International Airport and on board Emirates’ aircraft, and follow social distancing guidelines.
Emirates has additionally modified its inflight services for health and safety reasons.
Magazines and other print reading material are no longer available on aircraft, and while food and beverages will continue to be offered on board, packaging and presentation will be modified to reduce contact during meal service and minimise risk of interaction, the airline explained.
Cabin baggage is currently not accepted on flights, while arry-on items allowed in the cabin are limited to laptops, handbags, briefcases or baby items.
All other items must be checked in, and Emirates will add the cabin baggage allowance to customers’ check-in baggage allowance.
All Emirates aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai after each journey.