MIAMI – American Airlines (AA) has withdrawn its intention to carry out COVID-19 rapid testing prior to allowing passengers to board flights. This is according to Joy Jibrilu, Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation in the Bahamas, who added that the airline considered the exercise to be complicated and expensive.

Yesterday, Jibrilu, who spoke at the Exuma Business Outlook Council of Limited, said that AA, which was conducting its rapid test program on flights to the Bahamas and Jamaica, had abandoned the plan for all destinations.

American Airlines Boeing 757 oneworld livery, Photo: American Airlines

Comments from Joy Jibrilu

“We were so excited when American Airlines first confirmed a collaboration with The Bahamas and Jamaica for rapid antigen testing at Miami International Airport,” Jibrilu said.

“In our discussions, they talked about this test being available for anyone traveling to any of the destinations within The Bahamas that they flew to. Before finalizing the details “to marry that with the new travel health visa system that the government is putting in place,” AA shared the news that it “could never have imagined the complexity of putting such a system in place” and trying to work with Miami International Airport (MIA).

“They had already sourced the right type of test, but putting in place the logistics and doing the tests and the demos that they had to, it became so cost-prohibitive, but it also became something they could not manage in the time they had envisaged.”

American Airlines 737 MAX PHOTO: Carlos Lugo.

Back to Square One

According to, the Bahamas plans to carry out similar tests on everyone arriving in the country starting on November 1, having apparently carried out three million rapid antigen tests. The country will also require those arriving to send a negative RT/PCR COVID-19 test.

Jibrilu said that if anyone is found to be optimistic but asymptomatic, they will be able to go on holiday and pay per diem. If the traveler is found to be asymptomatic but has comorbidities, or if they have symptoms, a medevac flight will return them home.

Featured image: American Airlines aircraft. Photo: The Associated Press.