Gatwick Airport has announced plans for a new COVID-19 screening centre, which will be available for staff, passengers and the general public from 30 November.
The site is located within the airport’s Long Stay Car Park at the South Terminal and will offer a fast and accurate lab-analysed PCR swab test.
The facility, operated in partnership with ExpressTest, 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 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 UK Government’s newly announced “test and release” post arrival scheme, which will be in place from 15 December, 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, while 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, 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 also commented: “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.”