Passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong and Italy on Tuesday will be the first to have the option of paying for a rapid Covid test before checking in. The test will cost £80 and the result is guaranteed within an hour.
The aim is to help people travelling to destinations where proof of a negative result is required on arrival.
A growing number of countries have classified the UK as being “at risk”, meaning travellers from the UK face more restrictions. The authorities in Hong Kong now require people to show they have a negative test result, taken within 72 hours of a flight from London.
The rapid saliva swab, which is now available at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5, is known as a Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific will now offer it to customers. Tim Alderslade, chief executive of the aviation trade body Airlines UK, said he would like the cost of the test to be lower.
“For business passengers £80 is probably quite competitive but we’ve certainly said to the government in terms of introducing a test on arrival in the UK anything from £50-£60 would be better,” he said.