September 23, 2020, 07.10 PM

ZURICH/MILAN, KOMPAS.com – European airlines are placing their hopes on ultra-rapid Covid-19 tests to restore public confidence in air travel.

The ultimate goal is to offer pre-flight coronavirus tests that deliver results as quickly as pregnancy tests.

Germany’s Lufthansa is one of the European airlines working on deploying pre-flight coronavirus tests in which it is in talks with Swiss drugmaker Roche over deploying the so-called antigen tests.

According to two people familiar with the discussions, the German airline aims to make the Covid-19 tests available next month.

Read also: Europe’s Flight Safety Agency to Begin Boeing 737 Max Test Flights

Lufthansa is at the mercy of government bailouts as it fights for survival during the pandemic.

Italian operator Alitalia, meanwhile, told Reuters that from Wednesday it would add two flights from Milan to Rome, to the two it is already offering from Rome to Milan, exclusively for passengers with negative tests.

The tests are administered by health authorities at the airports and included in ticket prices.

If they prove popular and safe, these antigen-tested flights will be expanded to more domestic, and later international, routes, the airline said.

Unlike laboratory-based molecular tests that have been the staple of health authorities in the pandemic, antigen tests do not require machines to process.

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