Friday, 23 Oct 2020

Coronavirus testing at Heathrow Airport ‘could be up and running within weeks’

Air passengers may be set to undergo coronavirus tests when arriving at London Heathrow – and the system could be in place by the end of November, it has been reported.

Passengers would pay £150 a pop for the tests and it is hoped the move will lead to substantial flying by 2021.

Holidaymakers could then take another test five or seven days later in order to halve the current 14-day quarantine requirement.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, told Travel Weekly: “We’ve heard from the Prime Minister that he hopes to go to a trial in the second half of October. It would take a couple of weeks to put into practice.”

Holland-Kaye also said testing on routes between London and New York by Thanksgiving (November 26) “seems entirely feasible”, adding the demand would be “enormous”.

“If we get good results, there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to extend it,” he told the publication. “It’s possible that in the first or second quarter of next year, we see ‘rapid point of care’ tests become more normal.”

But the industry itself is said to favour a government-led test regime rather than a privately financed one like Heathrow’s.

A senior airline source told Travel Weekly: “There are things developing behind the scenes. If we have a decision in October, there is no reason a trial couldn’t be in place for November.”

They added “We don’t want private solutions with differing tests and differing costs. That would be complicated. This has to be integrated with the government test-and-trace system.”

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