Lufthansa will start the first test runs for comprehensive Covid-19 antigen rapid tests on selected routes between Munich and Hamburg on November 12th.
In partnership with Munich and Hamburg airports, as well as biotech company Centogene and the Medicover Group’s medical care centre, MVZ Martinsried, the airline is offering its customers the opportunity to be tested free of charge before departure on two daily flights.
Those who do not wish to be tested will be transferred to an alternative flight at no additional cost.
LH2058, which leaves Munich for Hamburg at 09:10, will be the first test flight to carry 100 per cent negative passengers.
Retrospectively, the second daily flight on which all passengers are tested will be the LH2059 from Hamburg to Munich.
Upon completion, customers will receive their test results within 30 to 60 minutes and only on presentation of a negative test will the boarding pass be activated and access to the gate be granted.
Alternatively, passengers can present a negative PCR test taken no later than 48 hours at departure.
Lufthansa takes care of the entire testing procedure with no hidden or extra costs for the passenger.
Passengers are simply required to register in advance and allow a little more time before departure.
“With our test strategy, we are pursuing the goal of using the data obtained to gain important insights into the use of rapid tests.
“Successful testing of entire flights can be the key to revitalizing international air traffic,” said Christina Foerster, Lufthansa group executive board member for customers.
Animesh Kumar, director of tourism consulting at GlobalData, an analytic company, said all negative flights could be a way to rebuild trust in the aviation sector.
He explained: “Increasing consumer confidence is the only way for the travel and tourism industry and segments like airlines and hospitality to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Globally, several destinations require the travellers to produce a negative Covid-19 test result either before the boarding or at the time of the arrival.
“The move allows the customers to opt for either a home test or visit an empanelled collection centre.”
He added: “Airlines across the globe are coming up with measures to facilitate this process of getting tested and increasing the consumer confidence.
“If airlines offer rapid antigen tests at the airport and ensure that only those who have tested negative are allowed to board, it will help in elevating the consumer confidence.
“However, it would also be an operational nightmare and may not be feasible for all flights.
“Negative-only flights can be attempted on routes that are popular in the holiday seasons as that may provide the much-needed boost to all stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry.”