United to Test Flyers to Hawaii

United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) has announced it will offer some Hawaii-bound customers rapid-response coronavirus tests at the airport, an effort to get around quarantine requirements and eventually. The carrier also plans open up more destinations to travelers during the pandemic.

United is the first U.S. airline to offer a COVID-19 testing program. Passengers booked from United’s San Francisco hub to Hawaii, one of its most popular destinations, will have that option starting Oct. 15, the airline said Thursday.

The date is when Hawaii is scheduled to lift a two-week quarantine requirement on arriving travelers as long as they test negative for COVID-19 no earlier than 72 hours before their departure. Passengers will be responsible for payment. Firm pricing is still in the works.

The nasal swab tests could later provide an opening for passengers to enter regions that are currently off-limits because of coronavirus concerns. Global airlines this week urged government officials around the world to consider COVID-19 testing for passengers before international flights as an alternative to blanket travel bans that have driven down passenger traffic.

The results of the molecular tests take about 15 minutes. The tests will be conducted in the international terminal, a site the airport announced last month that at first was for airport employees.

The tests at the airport will be conducted prior to security checkpoints. Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 won’t be allowed to fly.

UAL shares slid $1.44, or 4.3%, to $31.65 early Thursday.