Oneworld Chooses Oxford to Analyze COVID-19 Trial Data

With 500 volunteers and counting opting into the Oneworld COVID-19 study with American Airlines and British Airways, the airline alliance is tapping Oxford University to analyze the data. The Oxford Internet Institute will go through non-personal survey responses to determine their overall feelings towards the testing.

After launching a trans-Atlantic COVID-19 testing trial, American Airlines and British Airways want to better understand how flyers feel about their experience. Partnering with their international alliance partner Oneworld, the three will team with Oxford University to analyze and review survey results from the volunteer test group.


In November 2020, American and British Airways launched a voluntary COVID-19 testing plan to passengers traveling on four different flights. Since then, two additional flights have been added, making the total offering the options to five per day across four U.S. gateways. Over 500 volunteers agreed to take three different tests: one prior to departure, and two after landing in the United Kingdom.

In the latest expansion of the trial, Oneworld and the airlines will partner with the Oxford Internet Institute to analyze consumer sentiments around the triple-test experience. Researchers will be given access to aggregated, non-personal survey data from participants to understand how people feel about the testing options, and how they can ultimately be improved.

“The University of Oxford is already playing a leading role in the fight against COVID-19 with development of a vaccine,” said Phil Howard, an Oxford professor and director of the Oxford Internet Institute. “I’m delighted that researchers at the OII will be working to analyze and review survey data from this important trial so that we understand more about the options available for safer air travel.”

A joint statement from both airlines expressed optimism that the results of testing passengers and their opinions on the process will help to convince the British government to end quarantine requirements for inbound passengers. Currently, U.K. regulations require passengers not coming from an approved travel corridor nation to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the nation.


The Oneworld testing scheme is one of several airlines have run to provide evidence that testing schemes can help open borders and encourage international travel once again. In September 2020, Air Canada launched their voluntary COVID-19 testing program for passengers. Initial results from the test showed 99 percent of participants tested negative for COVID-19. Of the one percent that did test positive, 8-in-10 were detected in the first test, with the remainder discovered on the day seven test. No positives were discovered on the tests given 14 days after arrival.

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