Announced today, Vienna Airport will be offering onsite coronavirus testing starting tomorrow (Monday). This will enable passengers entering through Austria’s main airport to avoid a government-imposed 14-day quarantine upon arrival. This testing is the latest development in a series of airport and airline announcements designed to better handle the spread of COVID-19, and potentially open up air travel to more people.
The official statement
Currently, all passengers arriving at Vienna Airport must either present a medical certificate not older than four days confirming negative COVID-19 test findings. In the absence of this, they are required to begin a 14-day quarantine. However, starting Monday, May 4th, arriving passengers can undergo a PCR (polymerize chain reaction) test on-site at Vienna Airport.
The results of this test are available within a period of two to three hours, and a negative result will negate the need for a 14-day quarantine. The airport even says that this testing service is not only for passengers at Vienna Airport but for anyone interested.
“In this way, flights are now safer and easier – regardless of whether they involve business trips or urgent trips with on-demand aircraft within the context of general aviation, in particular if they last no more than four days, as well as arrivals and departures on scheduled flights from and to currently available destinations and via the General Aviation Center.” -Vienna Airport
The test is a private service being delivered by Confidence DNA Analysten GmbH at the cost of €190, or $209. For travelers departing Vienna, the test is useful in that the results can demonstrate a virus-free status at their destination.
Currently, Vienna offers scheduled flights to the following destinations:
- Doha, Qatar
- Dortmund, Germany
- Düsseldorf, Germany
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Hamburg, Germany
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Minsk, Belarus
- Sofia, Bulgaria
Vienna Airport’s press release notes that its General Aviation Center is always in operation and is available for flights on demand and business trips.
This new test will undoubtedly open up opportunities for travel that have been unavailable for the past few weeks. Well, at least it should…
More recognition of test results needed
Being able to certify yourself as virus-free should allow travelers to more freely board flights and enter countries. Of course, the main thing hindering this are policies set by destination countries, which bans entry to non-residents and non-citizens, regardless of a certified negative test-result.
For example, while flights to Doha from Vienna are currently scheduled, entry into Qatar is now only allowed for Qatari nationals, residents, and the children and spouses of Qatari citizens. All others “will not be granted entry.”
Hopefully, this type of procedure will be more commonplace at airports around the world in the weeks to come. It’s very likely travelers would be willing to pay the roughly $200 to take this test in order to resume their plans. This should then give private companies or governments an incentive to implement this as it could be a way to generate much-needed revenue.
The other hurdle is the widespread acceptance of test results as a way to enter the country if the test is being done at the origin, rather than the destination. For this to change, countries around the world would need to revise their current travel policies to allow entry to those who have valid test results in-hand.
Would you be willing to pay for this test if it allowed you to travel or at least skip a 14-day quarantine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.