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Etihad Airways provides COVID-19 test with ticket

The Abu Dhabi airline is including a COVID-19 test that can be taken before departure in the ticket price for travelers on outgoing flights.

Etihad Airways is now including a COVID-19 test in the price of outgoing flight tickets from Abu Dhabi. The Gulf airline has taken several steps to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on its flights.

As of Thursday, Etihad passengers can get a virus test at a number of centers in the United Arab Emirates between 48 and 96 hours prior to their flight. The test price is included in the cost of any Etihad ticket departing the airline’s base in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways said in a press release. The UAE newspaper The National said such tests, which must be taken before passengers can board a flight, typically cost between 180-370 dirhams (roughly $50-$100) at health clinics and testing centers.

Several countries around the world require travelers to test negative for COVID-19 before their flights. Etihad’s vice president for medical services said this new perk will make flying easier for their customers amid the pandemic.

“This is one further step in the efforts being made by Etihad to provide a professional, secure and protected travel experience at every stage of their journey with us,” Dr. Nadia Bastaki said.

The free test is available to all Etihad customers except for those traveling to China, according to the release. Those traveling to China must instead go to an Abu Dhabi Health Services Co. facility for a coronavirus test; the result must be sumitted within 48 hours of their flight, according to The National.

Etihad Airways has taken several measures to mitigate the spread of the virus since resuming regularly scheduled flights in June. Last week, the carrier announced that all people flying into Abu Dhabi need to wear a wristband that tracks their movements for two weeks as they undergo a mandatory quarantine. In August, Etihad temporarily canceled services to and from Shanghai after passengers tested positive following one of its flights to the Chinese city.

Like other Gulf airlines, Etihad has struggled financially due to the global travel crisis resulting from the coronavirus. The UAE is also experiencing record highs in daily COVID-19 infections.

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