A rapid Covid test which produces results within an hour is now being offered at Heathrow – and is aimed at departing travellers needing a negative result as part of an entry requirement.
Initially available for passengers flying to Hong Kong where the test is essential, it is hoped to make it useable on routes which require enhanced testing and have been badly hit by the effects of the pandemic. Italy is amongst the destinations requiring an approved test.
The special testing facility has been developed by airport support companies Collinson and Swissport and is available in terminals 2 and 5. The saliva test will cost £80 per person and travellers are asked to book ahead to ensure capacity.
A swab is taken landside by a nurse and processed immediately onsite using the LAMP-based method developed by Oxford University. There is a guarantee of results within an hour.
“This facility will ensure a smooth and safe pre-flight experience for these passengers. Passengers will be asked to ensure they book a test ahead of time and will be provided with timing and guidelines with regard to check-in by their airline” said a Collinson statement.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific are amongst the airlines currently serving the Hong Kong route.
Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “many other countries are already using testing to keep their borders safe while restarting trade and travel. These facilities well make it easier for passengers to get a test and have the potential to provide a service for arriving passengers”.