One Airline Is Offering $4 Covid Tests to Get People Flying
A SpiceJet Ltd. aircraft stands at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

One Airline Is Offering $4 Covid Tests to Get People Flying

One airline in India has hit upon a new way to make a bit of extra money while encouraging people back on planes -- sell them Covid-19 tests.

SpiceJet Ltd., India’s second-largest carrier, is offering coronavirus screening to passengers for as little as 299 rupees ($4). That’s about one-third the current market rate. SpiceHealth, the unit selling the tests, has also set up mobile-testing facilities for the general public in Mumbai and New Delhi, where starting from 499 rupees, people can come in or have a sample collected from their home.

Although aviation in India, with its big domestic market, is recovering faster than in places like Singapore and Hong Kong, which have no local business to speak of, the impact of the pandemic is still being felt. No-frills carrier SpiceJet posted a net loss of 569.6 million rupees in the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a profit of 732 million rupees a year earlier.

So much red link has prompted airlines around the world to look for new revenue streams as they burn through cash. Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd. last year rented out one of its Boeing Co. Dreamliners for sightseeing trips over Antarctica and sold items typically given away to premium passengers, including pajamas. Low-cost travel pioneer AirAsia Group Bhd. started an Amazon.com-style platform selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

Until vaccines have been administered widely, international travel isn’t expected to resume in a meaningful way. Carriers could burn through as much as $95 billion this year, close to double the International Air Transport Association’s previous forecast.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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