The rapid saliva swab is available at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific will offer it to customers flying to destinations that require pre-departure tests.
The test, known as Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) is quicker than the PCR test, because the sample does not need to be sent to a laboratory.
“Many other countries are already using testing to keep their borders safe while restarting trade and travel. These facilities will make it easier for passengers going to those countries to get a test and have the potential to provide a service for arriving passengers”, said John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow.
“My ministerial colleagues and I have agreed a regime based on a single test provided by the private sector and at the cost of the passenger after a period of self-isolation. Public Health England will set the quality for the test itself and then it will be up to the private sector to provide a test up to that quality”, transport secretary Grant Shapps said.
He added that the government is looking at another system, under which people could take one test before they fly into the UK, and then another test when they arrive.