Monthly Archives

November 2020

American Airlines and British Airways with Oneworld Airline Alliance Introduce Covid-19 Tests on Transatlantic Flights

By | 2020

The free tests will initially be offered to  passengers booked on American Airlines flight AA50 departing Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to London Heathrow, British Airways flight BA114 departing New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to London Heathrow and British Airways flight BA268 from Los Angeles International Airport to London Heathrow beginning November 25.

Passengers who choose to participate in the programme booked on flights that are part of the trial, will be contacted by American Airlines and British Airways with instructions, on how to volunteer. Each passenger participating in the trial will take three tests in conjunction with the journey. If a customer tests positive, they should reschedule or cancel their travel.

The first test to be taken 72 hours before departure from the United States is a convenient at-home RT-PCR test provided by LetsGetChecked. Passengers will self-collect a nasal sample, under the supervision of medical professionals via a virtual visit.

After landing at London Heathrow, participating passengers will proceed to their second test at the airport. The Lamp test provided by Collinson which involves the collection of a nasal sample by a medical professional.

Once the test is completed, a test kit for the third test will be provided to the passenger. The test kit offers an at-home testing option, through the self-collection of a saliva sample which is taken three days after arrival in to the United Kingdom.

The three-test approach, aims to validate a passenger’s negative status for COVID-19 throughout the travel journey and, will provide insight into the most effective and practical testing interval. The third test is intended to further confirm the results of the first two tests, to demonstrate that one or two tests would be sufficient to allow travel to safely restart.

A task force comprising oneworld member airline representatives and independent medical experts are overseeing the implementation of the trial. The task force will also share aggregated results with the US and UK Governments and other stakeholders to demonstrate the essential role that COVID-19 testing programmes can play in safely restarting travel.

Based on current UK Government policies, international travellers arriving in the UK from the US are required to self-isolate for 14 days even if, they have tested negative for COVID-19. The tests being used as part of the trial will not impact UK National Health Service testing capacity.

British Airways and American Airlines have worked with Heathrow on implementation of the trial in to Terminal  5 and as a result, Heathrow is now exploring whether trials can be introduced, on more routes between the airport and the United States.

The trial for each individual passenger will comprise of: an initial at-home test to be taken 72 hours before departure from the United States; a second test to take place upon arrival at London Heathrow; and the third test three days after arrival in the United Kingdom.

Ultimate objective of this and other trials is to validate that a pre-departure test provides a high level of certainty of a passenger being COVID-19 negative, which are hoped to result in policies that further relax border restrictions of United States and United Kingdom, including the 14-day quarantine and entry into the United States.





Book Donation to Local Library in Sarawak is a ‘Gift of Love’ Project Led by 59th ICCA Congress in Kuching

By | 2020

BESarawak’s viral book donation campaign, #9DAYS500BOOKS, was a hit among Malaysians as the nine-day flash book drive received 5,000 books of various titles and genres for the Batang Ai’s first community library at Nanga Ukom longhouse.

Batang Ai’s community library is a pilot project by BESarawak to understand the legacies of conventions. Rural areas such as Nanga Ukom, often lack access to educational support and with the library, it will help rural children and teens remain in school. The project will also populate the community library that serves at least seven longhouse communities in the area.

Currently 90 percent of the library is completed with add-ons to be installed are solar panels to provide Nanga Ukom longhouse with sufficient power supply.

Organised under the corporate social responsibility project of the 59th ICCA Congress, the project is known as ‘Gift of Love’. Sarawak’s CSR stated the Amelia Roziman, acting chief executive officer of BESarawak, is a continuation of the legacy of the 55th ICCA Congress in 2016.

She added:  “We aspire to transform the library into a preschool and weekend learning centre involving local education authorities to help both children and young adults gain confidence in today’s essential skills such as literacy and numeracy.”

The 59th International Congress and Convention Association concluded with the signing of the Kaohsiung Protocol, a framework of macro and micro trends in the meetings industry and strategies for meetings.

It was a  hybrid event which began from September 22 to November 3 that included four days of live broadcasts with regional hub collaboration in Sarawak, Cape Town, Luxembourg, Malaga, Costa del Sol, Andalusia and Riyadh.

Filming of Hollywood Blockbuster at MCEC – Venue’s Response to Pandemic Sees New Uses for Spaces

By | 2020

The coronavirus restrictions have seen Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre explore new ways to use their unutilised spaces such as, the filming of a Hollywood blockbuster starring Liam Neeson and the training of Victorian Guide Dogs.

MCEC closed its doors in March due to the pandemic, but as a major contributor to the Victorian economy, the venue has been exploring new ways to contribute to the community.

“Even with the impacts of the pandemic, we contributed AUD 740 million in economic impact to the state last financial year, and a further AUD 1.1 billion the year prior,” said Peter King, chief executive of MCEC.

“We can play an important role in the state’s economic recovery by using our spaces in new ways both, to bring jobs back to the city and support the wider community.”

One example of using the enormous venue’s space differently includes as a film studio, an idea that was originally floated as part of an innovative hackathon held by MCEC in August called ‘Unconventional Ideas’.

Since that event, MCEC has been working with the Victorian screen industry, and is now hosting the production of a major Hollywood film called Blacklight, starring Liam Neeson and directed by Mark Williams. The production is expected, to bring more than 500 local jobs for cast and crew back to the local film sector.

MCEC however continues to explore new uses for the venue as Melbourne moves towards a new normal utilising, the creativity and experience of its employees. The venue for example, has already installed new virtual event studios and technologies for hybrid and online events.

In the pipeline are opportunities to use the building, for safe and physically-distanced entertainment and events that can support the hospitality, cinema and arts industries that are affected by the pandemic.


MCEC and Guides Dogs Victoria Continue Vital Services for People with Low Vision

By | 2020

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has entered into a partnership with Guide Dogs Victoria to ensure people with low vision or blindness in Victoria can continue, to receive essential services during the Covid-19 lockdown.  The venue is being used as a space, for the training of the community organisation’s guide dogs and clients.

MCEC is currently closed to the public. GDV is also faced with significant challenges during this time of adapting to Covid-19 safety protocols and, is finding innovative new ways to continue, providing vital services to people with low vision or blindness in Victoria.

Through this initiative, MCEC is providing an environment that is safe, contained, accessible and free of charge for GDV to continue indoor and outdoor training, in compliance with government restrictions.

Guide Dogs Victoria’s CEO, Karen Hayes AM said the collaboration with MCEC had made a significant difference to GDV being able to continue delivering its services during these challenging times.

GDV’s mobility instructors and clients began training at the centre in September.  It will continue to use the venue as a place for training while space at the centre is not in use.