MIAMI – Starting on Monday, France will become the latest country to offer COVID-19 rapid testing in airports. The European nation will utilize rapid antigen testing, and results will be provided in 15 minutes.

Transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari made the announcement on Wednesday as case counts in the country have steadily risen in recent months.

“We are going to launch the tests in airports, especially on departure to destinations such as the United States or Italy, and for arrivals from countries in the high risk zones, so that we no longer have people returning from these countries in French territory without being tested,” he said to French news outlet CNews.

Whats Next for France?

Aéroport de Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) will be the first two airports to offer rapid testing beginning on Monday.

Air France (AF) will expect to benefit from this announcement, with the French flag-carriers long haul routes dropping significantly as a result of the pandemic.

The health and confidence of passengers are two key factors behind this decision as French President Emmanuel Macron moves towards a “test and trace” method to combat COVID-19.

An AF Boeing 777-200. PHOTO: Shon Fridman/Airways

Antigen Testing and Airports

Antigen tests have become a method of choice for airports looking to offer rapid testing. Earlier this week, London Heathrow Airport (LHR) made a similar announcement–however, testing will come at an additional expense for passengers.

The International Air Transport Association has officially endorsed the use of this testing method with the hope that it’s use will help to restart the aviation industry.

“COVID-19 testing before departure is the preferred option as it will create a “clean” environment throughout the travel process. Testing on arrival, with the potential for quarantine at destination in the event of a positive result, could impact traveler confidence”, said the IATA in an official statement.

Rapid antigen tests are nearly 100% accurate, according to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). Travel industry experts believe that the widespread use of rapid testing will shorten quarantine times and ease global travel restrictions.

Featured Image: CDG Terminal 1 in April 2020. PHOTO: Andrzej Otrębski/Wikimedia Commons