United Airlines is to pilot a Covid-19 testing programme for travellers, which is claims is the first by a US airline.

Testing will begin on a San Francisco to Hawaii route on October 15.

Those who test negative will not have to quarantine for 14 days, as is currently the case, on arrival in Hawaii or San Francisco.

There are two testing options being piloted.

United says the airport terminal-based Abbott ID Now Covid-19 test – administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and Dignity Health, and used to test United crew – provides results in about 15 minutes and will be available to customers on the same day as their flights departing from San Francisco.

A separate mail-in test option will be administered by Color and customers are recommended to initiate testing at least 10 days prior to their trip and provide their sample within 72 hours of  departure.

“Our new Covid testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently,” said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer at United. “We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and US airports later this year to complement our state-of-the-art cleaning and safety measures that include a mandatory mask policy, antimicrobial and electrostatic spraying and our hospital-grade air filtration systems.”