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British Airways to trial rapid new Covid-19 test

British Airways to trial rapid new Covid-19 test

British Airways is to launch a trial with medical tech company Canary Global to assess if its Pelican Covid-19 Ultra Rapid Covid-19 test can play a role in opening up travel.

It is hoped the test can display a result within 25 seconds.

The airline will be inviting flight and cabin crew to take the Pelican Covid-19 test and will compare the performance of the result against existing tests that they are already taking. 

Recently approved for use in Europe and UK, the test is currently going through United States FDA approval and the airline is the first in the world to trial the new technology.

Subject an evaluation, the airline hopes to be able to offer the test technology on applicable routes where tests have to meet the stated specificity and sensitivity standards.


The test is a non-invasive saliva ultra-rapid digital antigen test that delivers 98 per cent sensitivity and 100 per cent specificity in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2.

Users simply take a sample of their saliva into a disposable sensor unit, shake and insert it into a re-usable digital reader which is connected to a blue-tooth enabled device like a smartphone, and then wait for the results that appear through a mobile app.

Sean Doyle, British Airways chief executive, said: “As we start to see the opening up of travel, we remain committed to exploring easy and affordable testing solutions to help our customers travel again, whether it’s for business, to reunite with family and friends or take a much-needed break abroad.

“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.”