East Midlands Airport opens on-site testing facility to help get the region flying again


East Midlands Airport (EMA) has opened a new on-site Covid-19 testing facility which offers a full range of tests, RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Antigen and Antibody, and will be available to all passengers at the airport. The tests are carried out in partnership with airport services and travel medical provider, Collinson.

EMA passengers will also be able to access Boots’ own in-store RT-PCR Covid-19 testing service, which returns results within 48 hours from more than 50 stores across the UK. If booked through the EMA website, customers can benefit from a 5% discount.

This means that passengers will have flexibility when planning their trips and comes in the week that the UK Government lifts England’s international travel ban.

Some countries that are served by airlines from EMA require pre-departure tests to shorten or completely alleviate quarantine requirements upon arrival. Others require passengers to have a negative test to gain entry. The tests available at EMA will allow passengers to fly to some of the most popular destinations including Spain, Greece and Italy.

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. Announced last week, this will launch on 15 December and allows 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 countries which are already offering quarantine-free inbound travel to those able to provide evidence of a negative test.

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.

Clare James, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director, says:

“As England emerges from a ban on international travel, we know our passengers are keen to start flying again. However, many of the most popular destinations that passengers fly to from EMA require a negative test before visitors arrive in the country.

“This new facility will make the process of getting tested prior to departure as easy and cost-effective as possible.

“It also means that EMA is well-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.

“Our goal is to make testing available to as many passengers as possible, helping to get the people in this region flying again as England comes out of its second lockdown.”

The testing facility at EMA can be adapted as Government travel requirements change. Its online booking portal will allow passengers to choose the correct test and testing location for their specific requirements – whether at the dedicated airport facilities or elsewhere.

David Evans, Joint CEO, Collinson said: “In order to restore confidence in travel, it is critical that travellers can navigate the many different testing regimes now required by different governments around the world. We were the first company to set up COVID testing facilities at a UK airport and our partnership with MAG (which owns Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports) means that these airports now have comprehensive testing facilities. This is a major step forward in opening up the UK to safe travel.

“Our new facilities will also support the UK Government’s ‘Test To Release’ programme, scheduled for launch on December 15, and are flexible enough to respond to any changing requirements or legislation from both a pre-departure and inbound testing perspective. Having breadth of testing capability and the flexibility to scale is critical to ensuring the aviation and travel sector can recover from this pandemic, helping to protect jobs and restore consumer confidence.”

MAG is committed to supporting the Government’s requirement for travel testing to be carried out privately and not draw on NHS capacity, which is needed for key workers and Test & Trace. All of MAG’s providers, including their laboratory facilities, are private. While this means that customers will have to pay for tests, the cost of these tests are expected to come down over time as technology improves.

Testing for travel is likely to evolve over the coming months and MAG’s offering will change to match – whether by offering new kinds of tests or adding more capacity in terminals or through partner locations. MAG will help its passengers to navigate the various requirements for testing but ultimately passengers should always check the latest travel advice from Government before taking a test.