British Airways first to trial 25 second Covid-19 test

The airline will initially invite flight and cabin crew to take part in the study, with hopes to introduce the innovation on certain routes if successful

British Airways is set to become the first airline in the world to conduct a trial with medical technology firm, Canary Global, which will identify how its Pelican Covid-19 Ultra Rapid test – displaying results within 25 seconds – can contribute to the reopening of air travel.

Flight and cabin crew will be invited to participate in the trial, which will then be compared to the performance of previous results from other versions of the innovation.

British Airways
Photo British Airways

It is currently going through US FDA approval and was recently given the green light to be used throughout the UK and Europe.

If the trial is successful, the carrier hopes to implement this rapid technology on select services.

Sean Doyle, British Airways chairman and CEO, said the airline is constantly looking for “easy and affordable testing solutions” to restart air travel.

He added: “We think this new ultra-rapid test is a game changer so we are delighted to work with the team at Canary to begin initial trials with our flight and cabin crew, before exploring what role it could play as a customer testing option.”

This innovation is a non-invasive saliva ultra-rapid antigen test which delivers 98% sensitivity and 200% specificity in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, according to the medical firm.

Once a saliva sample is taken, it is placed into a disposable sensor unit which is shaken. It is then inserted into a re-usable digital reader which can connect to Bluetooth enabled devices, with results presenting through a mobile app within 25 seconds.

“We developed the test with the travel industry in mind where speed, accuracy and ease of use are paramount,” said Raj Reddy, Canary’s CEO and inventor of the technology. “We are very excited to partner with BA as pioneer and industry leader to trial this test; and we hope the Pelican test can soon be used as a standard test for travellers and crew around the world.”

The medical company is currently working with other sectors around the world, including businesses and schools, to ensure the safe re-opening of daily activities.

British Airways is currently reassuring customers that a wide range of discounted Covid-19 pre-departure, return and arrivals tests will be available for when travel is permitted.