Emirates begins testing passengers for COVID-19

Siobháin Spear
Apr 15, 2020

The UAE airline is the first to begin the rapid on-site testing of passengers.

April 15: Over the past two weeks, Emirates has been making outbound flights available to those residents and visitors who wish to travel back to their home country. In an effort to ensure maximum safety for guests and airline staff, the airline has today announced a further precautionary measure in coordination with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). Emirates has introduced rapid on-site testing for COVID-19.

On a flight to Tunisia earlier today, all passengers were tested for the novel coronavirus before departing from Dubai; this makes Emirates the first airline to introduce such tests for passengers. The quick blood test was conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and results were available within 10 minutes.

COVID-19 testing at Dubai International Airport

A passenger gets tested for COVID-19 at Dubai Airport

The testing of passengers was conveniently conducted at the Group Check-in area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3.

Commenting on the process, Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer said: “The testing process has gone smoothly and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Dubai Health Authority for their initiatives and innovative solutions. This would have not been possible without the support of Dubai Airport and other government authorities. 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. The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance.”

HE Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said: “We are glad to work with Emirates on the successful implementation of rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport for departing travellers. To tackle COVID-19, we have been proactively working with various governmental organisations and the private health sector and we have implemented all necessary measures from public health protection to provision of high-quality health services in line with the latest international guidelines. We believe strongly that the most effective solutions require close partnerships with other public and private sector organisations.”

Emirates policy updates due to COVID-19

In addition to the new testing that Emirates is introducing, the airline’s check-in and boarding formalities have also been adapted with social distancing in mind. Protective barriers have been installed at each check-in desk to provide additional safety measures to our passengers and employees during any interaction. In addition, gloves, masks and hand sanitisers have also been made mandatory for all employees at the airport.

Emirates has also made it mandatory for passengers to wear their own masks when at the airport and on board the aircraft, while also following social distancing guidelines.

In order to minimize risks, Emirates has modified its inflight services for health and safety reasons. This means that magazines and other print reading material will not be available onboard and, while food and beverages will continue to be offered on board, packaging and presentation will be modified to reduce contact during meal service and minimize risk of interaction.

The airline is currently not allowing cabin baggage on flights. Carry-on items that are allowed in the cabin are limited to a laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items. All other items have to be checked in, and Emirates will add the cabin baggage allowance to the customers’ check-in baggage allowance.

If your Emirates flight has been impacted by the stringent travel restrictions, you can now choose between three passenger options for cancelled flights after the airline waived its policies to simplify processes for its customers.

Etihad Airways announced similar repatriation operations, providing an updated list of flights from Abu Dhabi on April 13. To stay up-to-date with the latest regional travel news, subscribe to World Traveller Middle EastFor the latest health updates regarding coronavirus, ensure that the information you are consuming is from an official source.