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CDC updates COVID pre-departure testing guidance
The need for pre-flight COVID-19 testing protocols is becoming more critical as travel continues to increase worldwide. However, current international protocols are burdensome. AOPA, NATA and NBAA sought answers.

In response to a general aviation coalition request, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance for pre-departure testing. The new CDC guidance permits results from certain COVID-19 home testing kits to be accepted for passengers entering the US.

In a letter to the agency, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), NATA and NBAA state: “The need for pre-flight COVID-19 testing protocols is becoming more critical as travel continues to increase worldwide. However, current international protocols are burdensome, time consuming and have inherent limitations in processing large numbers of travellers.”

Currently, international passengers must show a negative COVID-19 result within 72 hours prior to boarding an aircraft destined for the US. The results must come from an authorised testing centre and laboratory to ensure the result matches the passenger and is entered into appropriate tracking systems.

The updated CDC guidance now allows for self-tests, sometimes referred to as home tests. According to the CDC, the testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection.

The CDC notes that some countries may restrict importation of authorised or unregistered tests and advises travellers who are considering bringing a US-authorised test to contact authorities at their destination for information before they travel.

“The nature of the missions operated by the general aviation community is such that short notice, on-site testing will be a significant aid in ensuring all passengers are appropriately tested for international flights,” the group conclude.

The coalition will continue to work with the CDC on effective and efficient compliance with international testing requirements on behalf of the general aviation industry.

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