Emirates working on making COVID-19 travel requirements easier

Automating and centralising medical screenings via an app, and providing a completely contactless airport experience are two of the latest introductions by the UAE flag carrier.
By Ahmed El Sherif
08:26 am
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Credit: Emirates

As Dubai tightens restrictions following a surge in cases of COVID-19, its largest airline and flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates is introducing new measures to facilitate international travel.

Earlier this week, Emirates ​announced it has partnered​ with GE Digital Aviation Software and ​TE FOOD​ to trial ​TrustOne​, a smartphone app that automates medical screenings of a company’s employees, guests, and passengers.

In a press statement released by the airline, “Emirates customers with an upcoming flight booking will be offered special rates for COVID-19 PCR tests through Eurofins​ – one of the global independent market leaders in testing and laboratory services – at one of its global lab facilities. 

“Passengers can also manage all related information in one place, including finding lab locations, booking of appointments, and test results with minimal additional data entry needs.”

According to the airline, the app will be trialled in the UAE, France, UK, Spain and the Netherlands prior to full launch. Those travelling from the UAE will pay AED 130 instead of AED 150, while travellers from the remaining countries can expect to pay between €70 and €90 per test. At present, they are still required to print PCR certificates and submit them prior to boarding.

In the next few months, it is expected that customers will be able to use the app to validate test results at check-in.

“This is the first step in making international travel during the pandemic as convenient as possible by facilitating pre-travel requirements,” said Rami Aynati, GM Commercial, EMEA at GE Digital. “The app will be further enhanced with more capabilities to meet all government testing and verification requirements, and Emirates customers will be among the first to have these services.”

WHY THIS MATTERS

As stricter lockdown measures or restrictions are being seen around the world, there are concerns that a second national lockdown will be imposed in the UAE, with flights being suspended once again.

Over the past week, Dubai has announced a new set of precautionary measures​ in the emirate, including reducing indoor seating capacity at restaurants and cinemas, and completely closing down bars and pubs.

In terms of vaccines, the city confirmed it has ​added the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine​ as a fourth option alongside Sinopharm, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Sputnik V. 

Read more on the COVID-19 vaccines here.

The TrustOne app is not the only introduction Emirates made this week. It also confirmed that it has made its self-service check-in kiosks and bag drop machines in Dubai completely contactless.

The self-service machines at Dubai International Airport can now be controlled completely using a smartphone eliminating the need to touch airport machine screens.

ON THE RECORD 

“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,” said Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer at Emirates. “With this latest solution, provided in partnership by GE Digital Aviation Software and TE Food, passengers will be able to easily source accurate information on tests, approved laboratories to get tested, as well as other vital measures to be taken prior to travel. 

“We look forward to working with our partners on a successful trial and to expand the app's offering and benefits to our customers in the future.”

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