Gatwick airport has announced plans for a new Covid-19 testing facility for passengers, staff and local residents.
The new ‘Express Test’ service will be located in the Long Stay Car Park at the airport’s South Terminal, and will open for bookings from November 27, with the facility going live on November 30.
It will carry out lab-analysed PCR swab tests, with results emailed or texted to customers “typically the next day”, although customers with flights dependent on the result are advised to schedule a test 48-96 hours prior to their departure time, “as a precaution”.
The test costs £99 for the general public or a discounted £60 for passengers and Gatwick employees, and there is a 30 per cent discount for groups of four or more (but only for those paying the full rate).
Those testing negative will be emailed a ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate that is authorised by a doctor, along with their test result, but the airport stresses that “passengers will be responsible for checking with their travel provider as to whether this document is accepted before booking the screening service”.
Tests can be booked at expresstest.co.uk for slots between 0800 and 2000, and customers will be sent a QR to take along to the appointment, along with passport or employee ID.
Looking to the future Gatwick said that 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”.
Commenting on the news Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer, Gatwick Airport, said:
“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.”