Emirates Starts Passenger Coronavirus Blood Tests Before Flights

On select flights, Emirates will now test passengers for coronavirus before they board. The United Arab Emirates’ flag carrier will carry out blood tests at the airport before travel. This makes the airline the first in the world to carry out such action.

Emirates, Coronavirus, Blood Test
Emirates is testing some passengers for coronavirus before flights. Photo: Getty Images

The global aviation industry has taken a considerable hit from the coronavirus pandemic. In order to get aircraft back into the skies once more and to restore confidence in travel, steps will need to be taken to minimize the risks of coronavirus transmission for passengers. As such, Emirates is implementing a solution.

Pre-flight blood tests

Emirates has now begun to blood test passengers in a bid to ensure that they are free from coronavirus. According to the airline, every passenger on today’s flight to Tunisia was confirmed to be free from coronavirus before boarding the aircraft. This is beneficial to both the airline and its passengers.

Emirates, Coronavirus, Blood Test
The blood test is administered via a skin prick on the finger. Photo: Emirates

Emirates didn’t detail how the blood test is carried out, but a video released by the UAE flag carrier shows that the blood is taken from a pricked finger. This means that the test is reasonably quick and stress-free. Speaking from personal experience as somebody who hates needles, this type of test isn’t such a bad experience.

Double benefits

Coronavirus tests at the airport have benefits for both the airline and passengers who have been tested. The tests allow Emirates to ensure that it doesn’t carry coronavirus patients. This will help the airline to protect its flight crew and gives it confidence it isn’t implicit in spreading the virus around the world.

However, testing also has benefits for the passengers involved. For starters, it gives them the peace of mind that they don’t have the virus. Even better, Emirates pointed out that it can issue COVID-19 test certificates, which could be useful for passengers arriving in other countries. The results of the tests take just 10 minutes, although the airline didn’t comment on their accuracy.

Speaking of the testing initiative, Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer, said:

“The testing process has gone smoothly… We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, 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.”

Emirates, Coronavirus, Blood Test
Test results take just 10 minutes. Photo: Emirates

Should other airlines adopt testing?

It certainly is an interesting question. You may think that such a scheme would be a no brainer. However, there are some considerations to take into account. Given that the procedure involves the skin being pierced and blood obtained, I can’t see it being popular as a permanent addition to travel.

Additionally, there could be arguments that such testing kits are more urgently needed at locations other than an airport. Perhaps a long term solution could see certified immune passengers not having to take a test, with others being tested depending on criteria.

Would you agree to coronavirus blood tests before flights? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.