Having partnered with CENTOGENE in June to launch the first COVID-19 test centre in Germany, Lufthansa is now expanding its test centre at Frankfurt Airport following a record number of tests. The CENTOGENE service complements the existing public laboratory capacities of the healthcare system and aims to relieve them.
The sample collection centre is located in the main terminal of Frankfurt Airport. All results are available to passengers via a secure digital platform and linked to the flight ticket to ensure automated confirmation for travellers flying to countries with respective entry restrictions. In addition, passengers can choose and identity confirmation service that certifies authorities that the test results match the passengers’ identity.
More than 150,000 PCR tests were conducted during July and August at the German hub. The ‘walk-in’ coronavirus test centre served as the blueprint for a successful test concept and enabled passengers entering Germany from high-risk countries to travel with confidence. On average 1% of the samples taken tested positive during the last six weeks and more than 97% of these results were transmitted digitally to passengers in less than 24 hours. Passenger who registered in advance waited approximately 20 minutes before being tested. The majority of passengers had travelled from Spain, followed by the US, Turkey and Croatia. Around 50,000 of these passengers were tested before departure to countries including China and Dubai where a negative test result is mandatory for entry. In addition, those living in the wider Frankfurt region have also been encourage to use the test centre and since mid-August, another test centre was opened at Hamburg Airport.
While approximately 4,500 tests were carried out at the facility in Frankfurt in July and August, the recent expansion will enable testing capacity to exceed 10,000 tests per day. The expansion also aims to keep waiting times to a minimum with the introduction of fast lanes, available to those travelling on airlines within the Lufthansa Group. Special fast lanes are also available for Lufthansa status customers, business and first class passengers.
“It is correct that the testing strategy for travellers from high-risk countries will be maintained in September. Instead of abolishing the tests from October and dismantling the successfully established testing infrastructure at airports, the existing testing capacities should be further expanded and used even more extensively. The data obtained from the tests can make a significant contribution to reacting to the current infection situation with targeted and appropriate measures,” said Christina Foerster, Lufthansa Group Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility Board Member.
Meanwhile Dr. Volkmar Weckesser, CIO CENTOGENE emphasised that, “broad-based testing is key to prevening a further outbreak and supporting a new normal – especially where mobility is an essential contribution to the efficiency of our economy.” By introducing efficient, digital workflows for COVID-19 testing at two of Germany’s airports Dr. Weckesser remains convinced that it will be possible to significantly increase testing capacities. “In this way, we can make an important contribution to the testing infrastructure – also for medical personnel or the population in the region. Above all, thanks to the latest technology and innovation, we are also working intensively on new, faster test methods.”