Passengers departing Heathrow now have the option to apply for a rapid COVID-19 test, with the results delivered on-site within one hour.
London's Heathrow became the first UK airport to offer pre-departure COVID-19 tests this week. Passengers flying to Hong Kong were the first to test the pre-booked service on Tuesday at a cost of £80 each. The Oxford Lamp pilot testing scheme, which uses a nose and throat swab, will be rolled out for passengers flying on airlines that require pre-departure tests including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic.
According to aviation firm Swissport and the Collinson Group, who launched the scheme, passengers must pre-book their tests with Collinson online before arriving at the airport. They'll be given a time-slot relative to their check-in and departure time. Special testing facilities have been set up in Terminal 2 and 5 and are applicable to passengers traveling to a country where a reciprocal agreement is in place.
The results are available within one hour. If the passenger tests negative, they can continue their trip as normal. However, if they receive a positive result, they will be denied boarding. David Evans, the Collinson joint chief executive, said: "With countries around the world adding the UK to their list of ‘high risk’ countries, we need to find a way to work with governments, leading travel brands and other commercial entities to safely open up travel out of the UK."
The group is also waiting to get the green light for a two-step arrivals test so that passengers traveling into England from high-risk countries can bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule if they test negative.
Heathrow's CEO John Holland-Kaye added, "these facilities will make it easier for passengers going to those countries to get a test and have the potential to provide a service for arriving passengers."
This article was first published on July 7 and updated on October 21, 2020.
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