One of the biggest challanges about travel has been the cost and reliable, timely results of COVID-19 tests. With most countries now requiring a COVID test before arrival, Gatwick have launched a very handy and cheap testing service. Stay tuned for similar news near Heathrow soon.
Gatwick Airport and ExpressTest yesterday announce the opening of a brand-new COVID-19 screening centre. The site, located within the airport’s Long Stay Car Park at the South Terminal, will offer a fast and accurate and lab-analysed PCR swab test. It will be available for both passengers, employees based at Gatwick and the general public, including local residents, from Monday, 30th November.
The facility is for air passengers who may require a valid, negative COVID-19 test certificate for destinations requiring one from up to 96 hours before travel. It will also help those who may simply want extra assurance that they are not currently carrying the virus. The facility could also, with any necessary amendments, satisfy requirements of the Government’s expected “test and release” post-arrival scheme allowing air passengers to reduce quarantine time required after travelling back from certain destinations. Anyone with recognisable COVID-19 symptoms will still need to use an NHS testing facility.
Air passengers and any employees based at Gatwick Airport will be charged a subsidised rate of £60 to use the screening service, whilst it will also be available for the general public for £99. A group discount is also offered, with up to 30% off for groups of four or more, for those who are having the full-priced test.
Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport, says: “Reducing the spread of COVID-19 is a priority for us alongside giving confidence to so many people who have missed travelling during this difficult year. Our new screening facility is also a convenient service to offer people in the region looking for extra reassurance. We are pleased to be subsidising the price for our passengers and any staff based at Gatwick so they are compliant with current destination requirements that many of airlines including easyJet, British Airways and TUI fly to.
“Our industry has been decimated by the pandemic and, while we welcome the anticipated “test and release” scheme from the Government, we want to see an internationally agreed pre-departure testing regime, based on existing risk criteria, to replace the current uncertainty of quarantine and patchwork of testing approaches which currently exists across Europe. A truly international approach would safely open up most of the UK’s travel routes abroad, while also helping to reduce transmission of the virus.”
ExpressTest is delivered using the latest gold standard PCR equipment that is fully CE-IVD certified, and tests are carried out by specially trained screening practitioners. These are not the same as Rapid tests that are only accepted by a small number of countries. The standard PCR test are accepted by most countries, particularly if it is carried out by a practitioner, not at home.
The lab-analysed test results will be emailed or texted to customers typically the next day, with airline passengers advised to schedule a test 48-96 hours prior to their departure time, as a precaution. Those who screen negative will be emailed a Fit to Fly certificate that is authorised by a doctor, along with their test result, however, passengers will be responsible for checking with their travel provider as to whether this document is accepted before booking the screening service.
Bookings open from Friday, 27th November, with the first test available on Monday, 30th November. To book a test, people will need to visit www.expresstest.co.uk and select a date and time. Customers will then be sent a QR code which they must bring with them to their appointment, along with their passport or employee ID. Payment will be taken during the booking process. Opening hours are 08.00 to 20.00 and customers are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to appointments.