London City Airport has announced it is expanding its testing capabilities with a new, larger facility in partnership with Collinson, the expert in global medical assistance and travel experiences.
Image courtesy London City Airport
The brand-new facility, located less than a minute’s walk from the airport terminal, will be able to administer over 200 tests per hour and will be available to meet increased demand from passengers when the UK Government decides to meaningfully restart international travel.
Passengers will be offered a full range of Government-approved COVID-19 testing solutions, and for passengers returning from amber list countries, the London City facility will offer a same day Test to Release service. This will enable passengers who receive a negative test result to end their quarantine on day five.
Ahead of the next Government reviews of international travel later this month, both London City Airport and Collinson believe the Global Travel Taskforce should consider the following changes as we approach the traditional peak summer getaway season:
Trust Testing - the private sector has invested heavily to create a comprehensive, robust international travel testing system that would enable safe travel in accordance with UK Government guidelines. Taken alongside the UK’s highly successful vaccine rollout, we believe that practical, reliable, affordable testing can boost passenger confidence and open up international travel safely.
Follow the Data - given the vaccine rollout and the robust testing regime, the Government should consider utilising the latest data to recognise the status of vaccinated travellers and facilitate safe travel for British holidaymakers to amber list countries where infection rates are low e.g., Portugal
Don’t be left behind by Europe - the European Commission has set a clear direction to restart travel by July 1st and is progressing with a Digital Covid Certificate that will be recognised by every member state, enabling travellers to use proof of a vaccination or negative test result to travel safely within the EU.
Passengers heading to ‘Green’ and Amber’ countries are currently required to take several tests both prior to departure and on arrival. Over the past few weeks, the number of people taking tests at London City has doubled, showing there is strong acceptance of testing and demand for post-lockdown trips abroad during the summer months. And a recent survey for London City Airport showed that 46% of people indicated a preference to fly to the Mediterranean this year.
The investment in a new facility will provide London City with increased testing capacity and the ability to deliver an additional 200-250 tests per hour, in line with expected demand, and current airline schedules. Tests are available to both passengers flying from the airport and people looking for a convenient London location to take their test, before flying from another airport.
Collinson is the only UK Government-approved provider of the Test to Release (TTR) process that can release travellers arriving from ‘Amber’ countries from quarantine at the earliest time possible: after they have completed five full days of quarantine. London City will be one of the few locations offering Collinson’s rapid RT-LAMP solution, which was developed by Oxford University and approved by the UK Government. Travellers with appointments made up until 4pm can be released from quarantine on the same day as taking their day five test* – much quicker than RT-PCR tests, which can take 48 hours to turnaround.
Commenting on the new Testing Centre and looking ahead to the next Government reviews of international travel, Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport said: "We still believe there will be a summer getaway, and our investment in this new, larger testing facility is not only testament to that belief, but a demonstration of our commitment to making the London City passenger journey safe, straightforward, and as quick as possible".
"There is no doubt that the next Government reviews are of vital importance. We need to put in place a framework that enables the reopening of international travel this summer. I would urge the Government to consider what airports and airlines are doing across the world to keep passengers safe and to look to the many countries across Europe where real progress is being made. We believe there is a strong case to expand the Green list in line with the latest scientific data, and recognise the status of vaccinated travellers with reduced testing and quarantine requirements, particularly for arrivals from Amber list countries. This would boost the industry’s recovery and allow passengers to book their summer getaways with confidence."
David Evans, Joint CEO, Collinson said: “In the UK, we’re lucky to have one of the most successful vaccine rollouts in the world, but we still have some of the most stringent testing and quarantining regimes when it comes to travelling at this time“.
“When we launched our first testing facility in the UK, nearly a year ago, the goal was to get travel safely moving again, while giving passengers convenient access to the testing solutions they’d need to fly without needing to face lengthy quarantines after. That is still very much our goal today. This testing centre’s convenient onsite location next to London City’s terminal means that passengers can enjoy fast transit and safe and speedy journeys from London’s most central airport, whether travelling on the day or – as we’d recommend – pre-planning in advance.“
Passengers flying back from ‘Amber’ countries, which now include Portugal, also have to meet a pre-departure testing requirement to fly back into the UK. Customers can order their test kit and book their appointment a minimum of three full working days prior to their UK departure. Up to 72 hours before their return flight, customers complete their test via video consultation with a medical practitioner, who will verify the result and issue relevant certification via email, all in line with the current UK Government requirements for UK arrivals.
In addition to the expanded testing facility, London City’s health measures were recently approved as COVID-secure by the CAA and PHE in line with the ICAO’s CART guidelines on safely restarting international travel. The airport was also awarded with the ACI’s Global Health Accreditation Standard in October 2020.