Gatwick to open Covid testing facility with next-day turnaround

A coronavirus testing facility will be opened at Gatwick Airport later this month, with a promise to offer “fast and accurate” PCR swab tests, with results available the following day.

The service could assist passengers traveling to destinations and require them to provide proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Gatwick said it could also be used by passengers arriving in the UK to shorten periods of self-isolation, depending on changes in government policy.

Passengers from non-exempt countries currently have to be quarantined for 14 days, but it is believed that a ‘test and release’ system will go into effect, where people can stop isolating themselves if they test negative for coronavirus after about five days.

Gatwick passenger numbers were 86 percent lower between July and September than the same period last year.

The test facility will open on November 30 in the long-term car park in the South Terminal, with passengers and airport staff paying £ 60 each, while the general public costs £ 99.

It was developed with ExpressTest, a division of screening and healthcare provider Cignpost Diagnostics.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick, said: “Curbing the proliferation of Covid-19 is a priority for us, in addition to giving confidence to so many people who have missed traveling during this difficult year.

“Our new screening facility is also a useful service to provide people in the region looking for extra reassurance.

“We are delighted to be able to subsidize the price for our passengers and all staff at Gatwick to meet the current destination requirements that many of our airlines, including easyJet, British Airways and Tui, fly to.”

The UK aviation industry is desperate to ease travel restrictions to stimulate a recovery in demand.

My Wingate added, “Our industry has been decimated by the pandemic. While we welcome the government’s anticipated testing and release schedule, we want an internationally agreed pre-departure testing regime to replace the current uncertainty of quarantine and patchwork of testing approaches that currently exist across Europe. “

Heathrow became the first UK airport to offer coronavirus testing last month.

Earlier this week, British Airways announced that it will initiate a voluntary passenger testing program to demonstrate that a test 72 hours before departure is “robust” enough to replace the need for a quarantine period.