Hope for summer holidays as major Covid testing firm offers cut-price PCR tests for passengers jetting back to UK
- Randox announced it will charge customers flying with partner airlines GBP60
- The airlines have not been identified but understood they will be major carriers
- Government announced all returning travellers will be required to have PCR test
Published: 14:19, 13 April 2021 | Updated: 17:35, 13 April 2021
A top coronavirus testing firm will halve the price of their PCR swabs for airline passengers to get people flying again this summer.
Randox today announced it would charge holidaymakers GBP60 for the gold standard tests, which typically cost around GBP120.
The cut-price tests will be available for customers of partnering airlines, which have not yet been revealed but are likely to include big-name carriers.
It will come as a lift to passengers and aviation bosses who railed against last week's Government announcement requiring all returning travellers to take a PCR test.
A major coronavirus testing firm is to halve the cost of PCR tests for travellers returning to the UK from overseas
Ministers resisted calls to allow people arriving from low-risk countries to take rapid lateral flow tests which are much cheaper.
PCR tests require swabs being processed in a laboratory, which can take several days and add to the expense - a family of four would have to shell out an extra GBP600.
Randox managing director Dr Peter FitzGerald said today: 'In recognition of the needs of both the travel industry and the British public at this unprecedented time, Randox will reduce the all-inclusive cost of PCR testing for those in the UK undertaking international travel to GBP60 per test.
'We can see the pressures faced by both the travel industry and the general public and are committed to effective and economical testing to support holidaymakers and those undertaking international travel.'
The GBP60 PCR test will be ordered online and purchased using a discount code, Randox said.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy the PC Agency, said reducing the price of testing is 'the magic wand to recovery in the travel sector'.
He went on: 'More providers need to encourage people back to travel with lower per person costs so as to stimulate the market.'
The viability of holidays (Malta pictured) is uncertain and hinges on spikes in other countries, as well as the possibility of vaccine passports
Mr Charles also urged the Government to abolish VAT on tests 'so that the sector can benefit from every measure possible'.
He added: 'Border policies have crushed the travel sector and it now needs full support to get back on its feet.'
May 17 is the earliest possible date they will be permitted, and the Government will introduce a 'traffic light' system ranking destinations by their threat level.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said last week : 'I'm not telling people that they shouldn't book some holidays now, it's the first time I've been able to say that for many months, I think everybody doing it understands there are risks with coronavirus.
'For the first time, people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad, or perhaps a summer holiday, but we're doing it very, very cautiously because we don't want to see any return of coronavirus in this country'.
But the viability of holidays is uncertain and hinges on spikes in other countries, with the third wave in Europe making it an unlikely destination.
The possibility of vaccine passports to unlock foreign travel is also a live discussion under consideration, and will likely be a feature of trips abroad.
From last week anyone in England can order a free lateral flow test even if they are not displaying symptoms.