Gatwick Airport and ExpressTest (a division of Cignpost Diagnostics Limited) have opened a brand-new COVID-19 screening centre, with the first test available today.
Copyright Gatwick Airport / Photo Jeffrey Milstein
The site, located within the airport’s Long Stay Car Park at the South Terminal, will offer a fast and accurate and lab-analysed PCR swab test. It will be available for both passengers, employees based at Gatwick and the general public, including local residents, from Monday 30th November.
The facility 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 Government’s expected “test and release” post arrival scheme 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, whilst 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 said: “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 gold standard PCR equipment that is fully CE-IVD certified and manufactured to the highest possible standards, 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.
Bookings opened on Friday, 27th November, with the first test available today, Monday, 30th November.
To book a test, people will need to visit www.expresstest.co.uk and select a date and time. They will then be sent a QR code which they must bring with them to their appointment, along with their passport or employee ID. Payment will be taken during the booking process. Opening hours are 08.00 to 20.00 and customers are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to appointments.