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Mon, 24 May 2021

How Travellers Evaluate Risk and Comply with COVID19 Rules

The results of a joint trial conducted by American Airlines, British Airways and the oneworld alliance show that a comprehensive COVID19 testing programme can help re-open international travel, safely.

This is underpinned by analysis from researchers at the University of Oxford who studied data on how passengers evaluate risk and comply with COVID19 rules.

The study by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), 'Trust, Testing and Travel, Technology Use, Traveller Knowledge and Compliance with COVID19 Health Rules, analysed aggregated survey data from almost 600 travellers who took part in the voluntary trial on select flights from the U.S. to London Heathrow (LHR), between November 2020 and March 2021. The trial offered three complimentary COVID19 tests, taken throughout the transatlantic journey.

British Airways Airbus A320 reg: G-TTNH. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Customers participating in the trial, conducted in two phases, took an initial PCR test at 72 hours prior to departure; a second test (LAMP) upon arrival at London Heathrow (LHR); and a third test (PCR) taken three to five days after arrival in the UK.

In the trials first phase, just 1% of travellers who took a test within 72 hours of their departure tested positive and, as a result of the test, they did not travel. None of the travellers who took a test upon arrival at LHR tested positive. Of the travellers who took the third test after arriving in the UK, just 0.4%, of travellers tested positive.

Analysis by researchers at Oxford Internet Institute suggests that the results were broadly consistent with earlier testing trial programmes in the aviation industry.

Importantly, 99.7% of travellers said they were happy to adhere to COVID19 testing requirements as an alternative to quarantine after international travel and are prepared to pay for affordable testing.

Almost 70% of travellers said they would travel if required to take a COVID19 test within 72 hours prior to departure. The same number said they would be willing to take a COVID19 test before departure as well as after arrival.

More than 70% of travellers said they would be likely to travel if required to take a test at the airport before departure, and about 75% of travellers are willing to be tested at the airport upon arrival at their destination.

Asked what they would be prepared to pay, nearly 80% of travellers said they would pay for COVID19 testing, with the majority prepared to pay US$ 50 (35) or less for each test. Only 15% of travellers are prepared to pay more than US$ 100 (70) for COVID19 testing.

Findings of the Oxford study will be shared with governments and stakeholders, in an important addition to the growing body of knowledge that shows how comprehensive COVID19 testing can provide governments the confidence they need to lift entry restrictions and allow travel to safely resume.

Prof Philip Howard, Professor of Internet Studies at Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, said, As many countries make progress on vaccinating their citizens the debate over reopening travel safely is becoming increasingly important. Im pleased our team has been able to make a contribution to this discussion through this detailed analysis of passenger sentiment and behaviour.

In a joint statement on the Oxford findings, American Airlines, British Airways and oneworld, said, The Oxford study further reinforces that customers are willing to undergo COVID19 testing as an alternative to quarantine. The trial findings underline the important role that testing can play in the safe reopening of international travel, including hugely significant routes between the U.S. and UK. The affordability of testing is crucial for travellers, and we stand ready to partner with governments and the private sector to offer affordable testing options for our customers who would like or need to travel again.

See also: What is the IATA Travel Pass, and what does it mean for travellers, airlines and the global travel industry? Exclusive video interview with Vinoop Goel.

See latest Travel Industry News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, British Airways, IATA Travel Pass, Testing.

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