In June 2020, Lufthansa announced that it had partnered with CENTOGENE to launch the first COVID-19 test centre in Germany. The move enabled passengers departing from or arriving at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), as well as those from the wider region, access to fast tests for COVID-19 virus.
The sample collection centre is located in the airport’s main terminal and all results are available to passengers via a secure digital platform and linked to their flight ticket to ensure automated confirmation for travellers flying to countries with respective entry restrictions. Passengers can choose an identity confirmation service that certifies authorities that the test results match the passengers’ identity.
The airport says the tests give reliable results and that this first “walk-in” coronavirus test facility served as the blueprint for a successful test concept which then enabled passengers entering Germany from high-risk countries to travel with confidence.
An airport statement said that over the last two months, more than 150,000 passengers have been tested at the Frankfurt Airport site using CENTOGENE’s test. It said that on average, 1% of the samples taken during the last six weeks have tested positive and over 97% of the results were transmitted digitally to passengers in less than 24 hours.
Passengers who registered in advance waited approximately 20 minutes before being tested. The largest proportion of them were travelling from Spain, followed by the USA, Turkey and Croatia. Approximately 50,000 of these passengers were tested before departure to countries including China and Dubai where a negative test result is mandatory for entry.
The airport is also encouraging the general population from the wider Frankfurt region to use its test facility and since mid-August, an additional test centre has also opened at Hamburg Airport (HAM).
On average, approximately 4,500 tests per day were carried out at the Frankfurt test centre during July and August and following the recent expansion, the airport said its testing capacity exceeds 10,000 tests per day. That figure is higher than any demand the airport has experienced so far.
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 Group status customers, business and first class travellers.
Christina Foerster, Lufthansa Group customer, IT & corporate responsibility board member, commented: “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. The cooperation between Lufthansa and CENTOGENE, which is continuously expanding its capacities, serves as a benchmark for a successful test model here.”