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3 December, 2020 - 12:45 By Tony Quested

Stansted opens ‘test2takeoff’ COVID facility

Stansted Airport owner MAG has launched a new COVID-19 testing facility at the Essex hub in partnership with airport services and travel medical provider, Collinson.

A full range of tests – RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Antigen and Antibody – are available to all passengers in a new, purpose-built facility inside the main terminal building. 

MAG also became the first operator to give its passengers the chance to book discounted pre-flight testing appointments on the High Street at selected Boots UK stores.

The new ‘test2take off’ service means passengers using MAG facilities in Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports will be given maximum flexibility when planning their trips and comes in the week that the UK Government lifted England’s international travel ban.

Certain governments allow pre-departure tests in order to shorten or completely alleviate quarantine requirements in the destination country. Others require them in order to gain entry.  

Having a full range of tests available at the airport – for any passenger planning to fly who does not suspect they have COVID-19 - will let MAG passengers choose whichever process they need to meet the pre-departure testing requirements of many of MAG’s most popular markets, such as Spain and Italy, as well as some long-haul destinations.

Passengers will also be able to book the tests they need to shorten their self-isolation period upon return under the UK Government’s ‘Test to Release’ scheme.

The scheme will launch on December 15 and allow travellers arriving from higher risk countries to reduce their period of quarantine by taking a test five days after they arrive in the UK.

‘Test to Release’ follows in the footsteps of a number of countries who are already offering quarantine-free inbound travel to those able to provide evidence of a negative test.

Boots offers an in-store RT-PCR COVID-19 testing service, which returns results within 48 hours from more than 50 stores across the UK, specifically for customers who do not suspect they have COVID-19. MAG passengers will be able to access a 5 per cent discount, which customers can access through the airport’s website.

Airport testing prices through Collinson start at £40 for Antibody tests, £50 for Antigen tests, £79 for RT-LAMP tests and £99 for RT-PCR tests.

Stansted managing director Steve Griffiths, said: “As England emerges from a ban on international travel we know our passengers are keen to start flying again, but many of Stansted’s most popular destinations require a negative test before you arrive in the country.

“This new facility will make the process of showing you’re infection-free when booking a holiday as easy and cost-effective as possible in the current circumstances. Our new booking portal makes it easy to select the right test for your destination, and at the location that is most convenient for you.

“This also means Stansted is perfectly placed to support the introduction of a UK arrivals testing regime, which will enable travellers to reduce the length of time they need to self-isolate if they test negative.

“Subject to the relevant tests securing government approval, this could free people from quarantine after just five days.”

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