UAE airline Emirates is re-instating outbound passenger operations from the UK, from 2 February. Initially, this will include a daily flight from London Heathrow and four weekly flights from Manchester.
Passengers travelling from the UK have been advised to ensure they are permitted to travel as per latest the UK government advisories and check the local entry requirements of their destination.
Meanwhile, Emirates has partnered with GE Digital Aviation Software and TE Food to trial TrustOne, a mobile app that allows passengers to undergo Covid-19 PCR tests at special discounted rates. The app helps passengers adhere to the latest regulations and protocols, making travel seamless and more convenient.
When using the app, Emirates customers with an upcoming flight booking will be offered special rates for Covid-19 PCR tests through testing service Eurofins. Passengers can also manage all related information in one place, including finding lab locations, booking appointments, and test results with minimal additional data entry needs.
The app will first be launched as a trial; and the first phase has commenced in the UAE, France, the UK, Spain and the Netherlands. Customers travelling from other countries can expect to pay competitive rates of approximately €70 and €90, depending on the country they are travelling from, compared to the discounted price of around €30.
Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, said, “We are constantly looking for solutions to improve our customer experience. Travel requirements today are dynamic, and even more than ever, our goal is to give our customers confidence and enable them to travel safely.”
Canadian airlines suspend flights to Mexico and Caribbean
Elsewhere, Canadian airlines Air Canada and WestJet have suspended flights to Mexico and the Caribbean as part of new, stricter travel restrictions announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Air Canada's suspensions began on 31 January and will last for 90 days; the carrier will operate a limited number of one-way flights to Canada from the region after that to make sure travellers can get home. WestJet's suspensions also began on 31 January and will run through 30 April.
"The government asked, and we agreed," WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims said in a statement. "While we know that air travel is responsible for less than two per cent of cases since the start of the crisis, and even less today, we recognise the government of Canada's ask is a precautionary measure."
US airline executives are prepared to push back on testing rules
In the US, airline executives said they were prepared to push back if regulators seek to make Covid-19 testing a requirement for domestic flights, though they also said they have seen no indication this is coming.
A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement went into effect in Januart, requiring all inbound passengers to the US to test negative for Covid-19 prior to boarding. American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said: "We support international testing, because that's about getting more people to be comfortable flying across borders. We are hopeful that doing so allows [President Joe Biden's] administration to get more comfortable with airlines and be open to allowing more people to travel to the US at some point."