Emirates, the UAE-based airline, is testing passengers for COVID-19 on flights from its Dubai hub as part of an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
Passengers on a flight bound for Tunisia underwent a blood test administered by the Dubai Health Authority, the airline said in a statement . Results were available within 10 minutes.
The airline said the test was performed near the check-in area.
The airline described the testing as successful, but it is not immediately available for widespread use.
“We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, Adel Al Redha, the airline’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates.”
As airlines scramble to staunch revenue losses and look for ways to get air travel started again once pandemic-related lockdowns end, quick-testing could offer ways to offer passenger confidence and convince governments to end travel and entry restrictions.
However, technical and manufacturing challenges could present challenges to quickly and effectively scaling the testing up.