Gatwick Airport is to join other airports by offering COVID-19 testing on-site for passengers, staff and non-airport users.
Gatwick Airport overhead view – Image, Vinci
The airport will be opening a screening centre with ExpressTest. The testing centre will be located within the airport’s Long Stay Car Park at the South Terminal and will offer a PCR swab test. It will be available for both passengers, employees based at Gatwick and the public, 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, with passengers needing to check with travel providers that the test meets the specific requirements destinations ask for. It can also be used for those who want extra assurance that they are not currently carrying the virus.
Anyone with recognisable COVID-19 symptoms will still need to use an NHS testing facility as part of the Test and Trace programme.
The test results will be emailed or texted to customers typically the next day, with airline passengers advised to schedule a test 48-96 hours before 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. As usual, you will need to ensure that is valid for entry for your destination.
How much will it cost?
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.
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. You will then be sent a QR code which they must bring with them to your appointment, along with your passport or employee ID. Payment will be taken during the booking process.
Opening hours are 08.00 to 20.00 and you are asked to arrive 15 minutes before appointments.
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.”
ExpressTest Founder Nick Markham said:
“We are delighted to be Gatwick airport’s official screening partner. We launched ExpressTest to give people peace of mind, whether that’s enabling travel through our Fit to Fly certificates, or providing the reassurance needed to safely visit friends and family abroad or within the UK. In the next couple of months we aim to have more than 30 locations operating across the UK, with the ambition of giving the British public the confidence to go about their daily lives in these uncertain times.”
Increasing testing coverage
With Gatwick Airport increasing testing coverage, it paves the way for other airports to copy the model to add testing as needed – something other airports around the UK may need to consider. As countries require tests to enter – or if you’re seeking peace of mind over the festive season, the demand for testing will be there (without having to impact public services), a service like this could be just the ticket.
If you’re flying or working at Gatwick, the subsidised cost could be something that could drive more traffic to the airport when passenger movement begins again.
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