Gatwick Airport and ExpressTest (a division of Cignpost Diagnostics Limited) have announced the opening of a brand-new COVID-19 screening centre. The site, located within the airport’s Long Stay Car Park at the South Terminal, will offer a fast, accurate and lab-analysed PCR swab test. It will be available for passengers, employees based at Gatwick, and the general public from 30 November.
The facility is for travellers 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 expected “test and release” post arrival scheme allowing air passengers to reduce quarantine time required after travelling back from certain destinations.
Travellers and employees based at Gatwick Airport will be charged a subsidised rate of £60 (€67) to use the screening service, while it will also be available to the general public for £99 (€110). 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.
“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,” says Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport. “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 our 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.”
Nick Markham, Founder, ExpressTest, comments: “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.”
ExpressTest is delivered using the latest PCR equipment and tests are carried out by specially trained screening practitioners. The lab-analysed test results will be emailed or texted to customers typically the next day, with airline passengers advised to schedule a test 48-96 hours prior to 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, however passengers will be responsible for checking with their travel provider as to whether this document is accepted before booking the screening service.