American to start preflight testing with flights to The Bahamas

Beginning this month, American Airlines will begin its preflight testing program as it restarts regular commercial flights to The Bahamas and the Caribbean, the airline said.

According to American, it has collaborated with a number of countries in the region, including The Bahamas, to carry out preflight COVID-19 testing.

“As part of an ongoing effort to help protect customer health and safety, inspire confidence in air travel and advance the industry’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, American Airlines is collaborating with several foreign governments to begin offering preflight COVID-19 testing for customers traveling to international destinations, starting with Jamaica and The Bahamas,” it said in a statement.

“The carrier plans to expand the program to additional markets in the weeks and months ahead.”

The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation revealed recently that it is fervently constructing a plan that will do away with the need for quarantine for both Bahamians returning home and visitors to this country.

Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu said recently that the “vacation in place” phrase coined by the ministry to soften the idea of quarantine has not worked out the way they hoped.

Now, she explained, the ministry, Ministry of Health and competent authority are close to agreeing to an alternative to quarantine.

In American’s statement, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said he is “pleased” that the company has begun its preflight COVID-19 testing and continues to commit itself to “mitigating the spread” of the virus.

“Miami is a major gateway to our islands, and we believe pre-departure testing will create important efficiencies, while ensuring the health and safety of both our visitors and residents,” D’Aguilar said.

President of American Airlines Robert Isom said the pandemic has changed the airline business in unexpected ways, and explained that the company has developed its preflight testing requirement to rebuild confidence in the traveling public.

“Our plan for this initial phase of preflight testing reflects the ingenuity and care our team is putting into rebuilding confidence in air travel, and we view this as an important step in our work to accelerate an eventual recovery of demand,” Isom said.

American said it plans to continue to expand the preflight testing protocols as it restarts flights deeper into the Caribbean with the help of CARICOM.

Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Chairman of CARICOM Ralph Gonsalves said the region is pleased that American has taken the initiative to pilot the preflight COVID-19 testing.

“The Caribbean Community welcomes this important progress to reopen markets with the health and safety of our citizens being of paramount importance, and we’ll be monitoring this program very closely as it ramps up in our region,” said Gonsalves.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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