testing: Luxemburg Airport and Newark Airport
Rapid COVID-19 testing stations have been constructed at airport terminals around the world. Since the beginning of August, Luxembourg Airport has offered free tests to travellers – the prerequisites being that the individual must be a resident of Luxembourg and have returned from a foreign country.
At Newark Airport, all employees and passengers can get a PCR molecular test or a COVID antibody test, with or without an appointment. The cost ranges from $75 USD for a COVID-19 test to $90 USD for COVID-19 plus antibody. Medical insurance is also accepted to cover the costs. These testing facilities were first made available to airport staff and results were delivered within two to five days. For ticketed passengers, the results need to be much faster as many travel directives require a negative test result before entry into certain countries. The goal for many of the facilities is to deliver results in 15 minutes or less.
Testing could become the new first step before travel. This could be done off-airport or, in some cases, at the airport, prior to check-in and baggage drop, as the passenger journey transforms to mitigate COVID-19 and any other future pandemic that we will face in our lifetime.
There are many challenges to this, such as being able to keep up with the increased level of demand for testing. Some airports are creating space for passengers being tested, addressing scheduling conflicts, looking at staffing requirements, and budget.
It sadly does not come as a surprise that many airports and airlines are being forced to furlough or even lay off employees due to the pandemic – the need for more government assistance and a consistent approach for testing – predominantly before the passenger arrives at the airport – is crucial to the airport business staying afloat.