SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

At Ovation, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the link below to view our travel resources guide which includes traveler health & safety information, interactive risk maps, client communications, travel management best practices, webinar recordings and more regarding COVID-19.

American Airlines has announced that it is collaborating with several foreign governments to begin offering preflight COVID-19 testing for travelers flying to international destinations, starting with Jamaica and the Bahamas. The carrier plans to expand the program to additional markets in the weeks and months ahead. American has reached agreement with Jamaica to launch an initial testing program at its Miami International Airport (MIA) hub next month. The initial phase of testing will be for Jamaican residents traveling to their home country. If a traveler tests negative for COVID-19 ahead of flying with American, the 14-day quarantine currently in place for returning Jamaican residents would be waived. Following a successful pilot program, the objective is to open this testing protocol for all travelers flying to Jamaica, including US citizens. American’s next international program will be with the Bahamas and is expected to launch next month. Details on the protocols for that country will follow. In addition to its efforts in opening international markets to travel, American has been working with the government of Hawaii to develop a series of options that fit the Hawaiian requirements for travel to the state. Starting October 15th, the airline will begin a preflight COVID-19 testing program at its Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) hub for travelers flying to Hawaii.

Hawaii Governor David Ige said last week that starting October 15th, travelers arriving from out of state may bypass a 14-day quarantine requirement if they test negative for COVID-19. News of Hawaii's decision has spurred some airlines to offer pre-flight testing for flights destined for Hawaii, reports USA Today. On Tuesday, American Airlines joined JetBlue Airways, United and Hawaiian airlines in announcing it plans to provide tests that can prove travelers don't have COVID-19. The testing will be provided as a convenience to travelers. The airlines are not making them mandatory, and they are not free. Prices range from $80 to $250, depending on the airline and how the tests are done. Depending on the airline, the tests can be administered at home or taken in person at clinics at or near designated airports. American said it will offer rapid testing at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) for Hawaii flights through a clinic chain called CareNow starting October 15th. It also will offer at-home testing through LetsGetChecked. United is working with GoHealth Urgent Care and its partner Dignity Health, initiating testing from a single airport, San Francisco International (SFO), for flights to Hawaii. It is also offering at-home tests with Color Genomics. Hawaiian Airlines said Worksite Labs will have advance and day-of-travel test options. They will be available at drive-thru locations near San Francisco International (SFO) and Los Angeles International airports. Additionally, JetBlue is offering an at-home test through Vault Health.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that it will invite new airports to participate in the Preclearance program for the first time since 2016, reports Business Travel News. Preclearance allows airports outside of the United States to set up customs and immigration checks of travelers prior to departure so the travelers can skip customs and immigration lines upon arrival in the US. Airport eligibility requirements include suitable facilities for processing, sharing costs with the US government and bilateral agreements between the US and the government of the airport's country. Current Preclearance participants include nine airports in Canada, Dublin and Shannon airports in Ireland, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba, LF Wade International Airport in Bermuda and Freeport and Nassau airports in the Bahamas.

The UK government has signaled it could sign off on a COVID-19 testing trial of air travelers at London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) in October, and flights to New York could be “up and running” by the end of November, reports Travel Weekly UK. John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s chief executive, told Travel Weekly: “We’ve heard from the prime minister that he hopes to go to a trial in the second half of October. It would take a couple of weeks to put into practice.” Asked if that could mean substantial flying by summer 2021, Holland-Kaye said: “Absolutely, yes. We can start testing at some scale in the next few months. I would love to have a New York-London pilot up and running by Thanksgiving [November 26]. That seems entirely feasible. If we get good results, there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to extend it. It’s possible that in the first or second quarter of next year, we see ‘rapid point of care’ tests become more normal.” Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Holland-Kaye said: “There is consensus that testing is the answer to getting people flying, that testing before departure is the better way of doing it and that we need a common international standard. We’ve put lots in place to make sure we can be ready to go, [but] we don’t know whether airport testing will be part of the solution. The government isn’t comfortable with a single test on arrival because if you’ve only just contracted the disease, you may not show up on a test.” He explained: “We’ve proposed two things: a shorter quarantine on arrival followed by a test after five or seven days for people from high-risk countries, [and] a pilot on the New York-London route with testing before people get on a plane. That’s more complicated to set up because you need mutual recognition of testing between countries.”

One state was added to the Tri-State Travel Advisory that requires travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days, while two states have been removed this week, reports ABC 7 New York. Colorado now meets the metrics for the quarantine, which applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. Meanwhile, Arizona and Virginia were removed, leaving 32 states and two territories. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut update the quarantine list every Tuesday, as states are added and removed based on the average daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. Click "Read More" below to view the current full list.

Airports Council International (ACI) World has announced its support to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in calling for universal testing of travelers as they depart as an alternative to quarantine measures, reports Airport Technology. Last month, ACI World called on governments to follow a consistent protocol for testing. The organization argued that testing should be implemented only when required and as an alternative to quarantine requirements. International borders are still closed in most countries and, where travel is allowed, travelers often must carry out a 14-day quarantine. ACI is now seeking government action to introduce widespread and coordinated testing of international travelers in order to support recovery efforts. ACI is supporting the IATA’s call subject to the availability of effective and accurate methods of testing and on the option of running it off-site and before travel for a smooth testing process. ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said, “Testing will allow people to travel in a safe and efficient manner without increasing the risk of infection or the fear of unnecessary quarantine."

This week, Ovation announced a new optional service, Ovation Aviation, our private jet charter program that provides clients access to private air at any time without minimum use requirements. Ovation Aviation offers an expanded charter offering built around the unique needs of private air travel in today’s COVID-19 environment. The expanded charter flight program provides flexible booking, with no minimum hour commitment, on meticulously cleaned aircraft of all sizes that are parked at private air facilities. Ovation Private Jet Charter Program offers:
  • Safety First – Ovation only works with the most reputable charter operators to ensure travelers enjoy the highest levels of safety, privacy and comfort, not only while flying, but also on the ground in private facilities.
  • All Sizes – Ovation has access to a portfolio of more than 1,000 safety-vetted and verified partner aircraft ranging from Light and Midsize to Super-Mid and Large-Cabin categories.
  • Flexible Booking – Ovation offers travelers the flexibility of booking on-demand with no minimum hour commitment. There is no asset ownership requirement.
  • Attention to Detail – Ovation only works with partner operators committed to ensuring every detail is taken care of, from catering to extra amenities.
  • Cabin Cleaning – Ovation’s partners provide deep disinfecting between each trip to provide added comfort.
  • Physical Distancing – Ovation’s clients will enjoy greater physical distancing among travelers, crew and staff for safer on-ground and in-air experiences.
  • Temperature Taking – Temperature testing may be required prior to boarding.

For more information on Ovation Aviation, click "READ MORE" below.