THE PREMIER APPROACH: COVID-19 Testing
While it is technically possible to supply PCR machines, testing kits, and training to users, is it feasible? There are many risk factors to take into consideration…
INTERNATIONAL ACCEPTANCE CONCERNS
- With the complex regulatory environments of various countries, you must ask, “is the PCR testing unit approved for entry, in country sanitary, and departure test requirements?”
- Does the PCR testing unit require quality assurance checks evidenced to each country’s standards? Do you have to be a registered and approved COVID-19 testing provider in each respective country where you perform a test? Are you required to report test results (positive and/or negative)?
- PCR test units are complex laboratory equipment which are sensitive to temperature changes and vibrations and require calibration for their environments to ensure reliable results. Is your crew certified to handle such technical calibrations?
To enter France, if a COVID-19 test is needed, the test must be valid within the country of departure (PCR test is the best option to avoid any questions). If a test is approved within the United States and the aircraft is arriving directly from the United States, the test is valid for entry.
However, if arriving in France from another country and the test is not approved from the country of departure, then it is not valid for an entry into France.
For in country sanitary and departure testing, France does not accept self-test kits/units. These tests must be done in person by qualified medical staff. Certificates are granted only through French authorities (including QR code to get a Sanitary Pass).
Out of all the companies in the UK that are United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited to carry out COVID-19 testing, only a handful receive government approval to perform tests for international travel. UKAS accreditation does not automatically grant authorization to carry out testing for international travelers.
- What will you do if a traveler (crew or passenger) tests positive?
- If testing onboard an aircraft and a traveler tests positive, how will you handle them and any other travelers who have now been in close contact? Where do you quarantine or isolate the person? Would they be allowed to return to their home country or arrive at their intended destination to complete a quarantine regimen?
- What is the cost of the testing solution?
- Test kits and their consumables have specific storage requirements. Does your aircraft meet those requirements, even when parked and unattended? If not, will a handling agent/FBO be willing to store on your behalf? Will there be chain of custody and/or tampering concerns?
- Will the waste from the test kits be considered clinical waste that will require a compliant biohazardous waste disposal solution?
Flight Pro International recommends that you coordinate with a local reliable vendor/agent in country to verify that a particular test is accepted for your needs, be it for entry, in country sanitary, or departure test standards. Where self-testing or remote testing is allowed, there are reliable, affordable options.
OPTIONS FOR SELF-TESTING
There are various options available to meet testing requirements. Many laboratories offer walk-in service with rapid results. There are also multiple sources of supervised self-testing. One option that is tailored specifically to business aviation is:
Aircare International provides a 24/7/365 virtually guided concierge service via any mobile device or platform utilizing the Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test. Contact Aircare Access to find out more at 888.754.9805 / www.aircareinternational.com
Our investigative regulatory support team, with assistance from our Special Services Network (SSN), stays abreast of government requirements around the world. Collaborating with our team of regulatory experts will keep you informed and better able to navigate the complexities of your dynamic operation.
If you have any questions, Flight Pro’s Global Trip Support (GTS) team has you covered, 24/7.
FLY HIGH, FLY FAR!
Written by: Jeffrey S. Basham, Sr. Manager, Compliance