Tests will eliminate the need for PCR testing upon arrival in Israel.
(Courtesy of EL AL) EL AL Israel Airlines and Femi, a healthcare and tele-health company, have launched a trial program to test EL AL passengers prior to—and during—flights to Israel. Currently, all passengers landing in Israel are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. This program will eliminate that need and allow the passengers to leave Ben Gurion as quickly and easily as in pre-COVID times.
The trial flight took place on August 5 on flight LY004 from New York’s JFK to Tel Aviv. The pre-flight testing took place at XpresSpa, working in cooperation with JFK Airport and Femi. Femi provides the service at Ben Gurion Airport under the supervision of the Israel Ministry of Health. Passengers that could not be tested before take-off had the opportunity to be swabbed in-flight.
Avigal Soreq, CEO of EL AL, commented: “This trial is designed to make it easier for our customers to travel to Israel and ease the testing process. EL AL is working within a ‘living alongside corona’ mindset, understanding that the virus will not simply disappear, but will need to be managed for everyone’s safety while continuing to live our lives. EL AL is committed to developing solutions that will enable Israel to open up to foreign tourists, who are critical to the economy.”
Femi’s CEO, Atel Molcho, said: “Femi is proud to be the first company to perform in-flight COVID testing. We are pleased to be part of this national project, and to mobilize Femi’s rich experience and professionalism to provide EL AL’s passengers with this unique, new service.”
Soreq of EL AL further stated, “We call on regulators to examine these trials and adopt similar solutions so that we can reopen the Israel tourism industry in a safe manner.”
The August 5 JFK to Tel Aviv flight had approximately 280 passengers.
A successful trial would be a breakthrough opportunity to allow tourists to enter Israel. In the short term, the in-flight testing will assist the Airports Authority in regulating the number of passengers waiting for testing.
An important note: This testing is not a substitute, but is in addition to the PCR test that must be performed up to 72 hours prior to the flight.
The pre-flight (or in-flight) test will cost 80 NIS, the same fee as one pays at the airport in Israel, and the results will be received a few hours after arrival in Israel.