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Collinson and Swissport to launch UK’s first airport rapid testing facility

Collinson and Swissport will be launching pre-departure rapid testing facilities at Heathrow Airport tomorrow.

The pre-departure testing facilities, a first in UK, are a critical step in the tourism’s sector's recovery, restoring traveller confidence and re-opening routes from the UK to the rest of the world.

The facilities will be located in Terminals 2 and 5, and will offer passengers travelling to Hong Kong and Italy the option to fulfil those countries’ pre-departure testing requirements at the airport, before they fly. These countries currently require passengers to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure, but allow for testing technologies that can deliver fast results. These tests, including LAMP and Antigen tests, can easily be administered pre-flight at the airport.

These tests differ from RT-PCR, which countries and territories around the world, including Cyprus, Greece, Bahamas, and Bermuda now require, at the time of check-in. Unlike RT-PCR tests, LAMP and Antigen tests can be processed without being sent to a laboratory.

Pre-departure is one of a number of testing regimes being implemented around the world, and a crucial next step toward keeping the travel industry moving, while limiting the spread of the virus. The testing facilities will initially be open for for weeks, monitoring passenger and airline demand.

The new pre-departure facilities will process LAMP tests for departing passengers from today, and will seek to add other tests, including Antigen, as global governments continue to accept a wide variety of testing methods as an alternative to travel restrictions and quarantines.

The private test costs £80 and will provide results in around 60 minutes. This facility will ensure a smooth and safe pre-flight experience for passengers from Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and other fly routes that require pre-departure tests. Passengers will be asked to book a test ahead of time and will be provided timing guidelines with regard to check-in by their airline.

Collinson and Swissport’s ‘Test-on-Arrival’ facility at Heathrow, is yet to gain UK Government approval for use. Now that Heathrow has facilities that allow for passengers to be tested either on arrival or prior to departure, the aviation industry is urging the Government’s new Global Travel Taskforce to launch a testing regime that provides a safe alternative to the existing 14-day quarantine.

Passengers interested in using the facility will need to set up an account and book their test online on www.collinsongroup.com, before beginning their journey to the airport. The tests will be carried out by Collinson nurses in a dedicated facility landside at the airport.

David Evans, joint CEO at Collinson, said, “We launched ‘Test-on-Arrival’ to help get the travel ecosystem moving again and are now launching pre-departure testing to help support passengers departing the UK too."

“With countries around the world adding the UK to their list of ‘high risk’ countries, we need to find a way to work with governments, leading travel brands and other commercial entities to safely open up travel out of the UK. Government restrictions around the world will continue to fluctuate, but we, with our medical services and biotech partner network, have the capability to flex our offering to bespoke country needs, ensuring that, whatever the restriction, we can provide a way to keep travel moving, safely, without negatively impacting UK public testing capacity,” he added.


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