Lufthansa has confirmed plans to set up COVID-19 passenger testing stations at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. Few details about the service are yet known after the plans were first leaked by German newspaper Der Spiegel but its understood the German flag carrier will partner with private testing companies to offer the PCR antigen tests at a yet to be disclosed additional cost to passengers.
A spokesperson confirmed the airline was working on the plans and said the airline hopes to have the testing centres up and running by early July. The tests would be primarily marketed towards passengers who are travelling to destinations where a COVID-19 test certificate is required as a condition of entry.
Test results should be available within four hours according to the spokesperson. It’s not known how much the service would cost but a COVID-19 antigen service at Vienna Airport costs €190 per test. If the test comes back negative, passengers arriving in Austria are allowed to avoid a 14-day home quarantine.
The test offered at Vienna Airport is also open to outbound passengers, as well as anyone else who wants to travel to the airport and pay the fee. It’s not known whether Lufthansa plans to extend its COVID-19 testing service to arriving passengers and walk-in’s.
By September, Lufthansa hopes to have resumed flights to around 70 per cent of its long-haul route network although the frequency and capacity of flights is likely to remain far below pre-Corona levels. The airline is also pushing summer vacation destinations and plans to resume short-haul services to 90 per cent of its network citing a strong demand from German consumers.
That sentiment, however, isn’t shared by Germans polled by Der Spiegel who weren’t so keen on flying anytime soon. Pollsters Civey found only 13.4 per cent of Germans plan to fly anywhere in the next three months. Over half said they were afraid of catching COVID-19 during a flight despite reassurances from Lufthansa and industry leaders that flying remains safe.
In an effort to boost confidence in the safety of air travel, Lufthansa says all passengers and crew must wear face masks during the entire flight except for mealtimes. The airline is also exploring the idea of offering to block the middle seat at an additional cost which an insider claimed “wouldn’t come cheap”.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.