American Airlines’ Preflight COVID-19 Testing For International Travel

In its bid to prepare for opening up international travel, American Airlines has initiated a plan for preflight coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

This move is expected to inspire and rebuild confidence in air travel and advance the travel industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The carrier is beginning with testing for customers travelling to Jamaica and the Bahamas, and will expand the testing to additional markets in the weeks and months ahead.

American Airlines is collaborating with several foreign governments to begin offering preflight COVID-19 testing protocol for customers traveling to international destinations.

American has reached agreement with Jamaica to launch an initial testing program at its Miami International Airport (MIA) hub next month for Jamaican residents traveling back to their home country. If tested negative, the 14-day quarantine in place in Jamaica will be waived.

American is also working with the Bahamas and CARICOM, an integrated grouping of 20 Caribbean countries, to launch similar program next month. The discussion is afoot with CARICOM about expanding the program to additional Caribbean markets.

Apart from international markets, the airline is working with the government of Hawaii to develop a series of options that fit the Hawaiian requirements for travel to the state. It will begin preflight COVID-19 testing program at its Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) hub for customers traveling to Hawaii from October 15.

Beginning next month, American will offer three options for preflight testing to customers with flights from DFW to Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG) – At-home test from LetsGetChecked, In-person testing and Onsite rapid testing.

The testing under the COVID-19 predeparture testing program must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure. Travelers who test negative will be exempt from the state’s 14-day quarantine.

American Airlines had in August announced its decision to suspend services to 15 markets, effective October, reflecting weak demand as well as the expiration of the air service requirements associated with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act.

In the same month, the company had announced plans to cut about 19,000 employees in October when the US federal aid expires, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the travel and tourism industry. The total workforce will shrink by at least 40,000, including 19,000 involuntary cuts, in October.

In June, American Airlines had warned around 25,000 employees, which is about 20% of its total workforce, about possibility of furloughs.

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