Heathrow Airport will shutter its last COVID-19 testing centre on June 11, more than a month after the last country served by flights from the West London airport dropped the requirement for supervised pre-departure Covid testing.
In a statement, the airport said it made the decision to shut the testing centre following a “significant decline in demand for Covid-19 testing at the airport due to the relaxation of government testing requirements for international travel”.
“The World Health Organisation has declared that Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency and there are currently no countries serviced by airlines operating out of Heathrow that mandate supervised pre-departure testing for vaccinated passengers,” a statement from the airport continued.
The last country to drop supervised pre-departure testing rules was China on April 29, which now only requires customers to take a rapid self-test (although airlines aren’t expected to check the results).
Rapid antigen tests can still be bought across Heathrow at Boots pharmacy stores.
Heathrow was relatively slow to set up in-house testing centres and didn’t offer the service until October 2020, initially only on flights to Hong Kong. Capacity was then quickly ramped up as more and more countries introduced pre-departure testing rules with testing services available in all terminals.
Over the last few months, however, the only onsite testing centre has been located at Terminal 3. Testing will be available until the end of Sunday, 11th June when the centre will be demolished and the space handed back over to normal passenger operations.
Heathrow is now the busiest airport hub in Europe, handling more passengers than Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris. The airport hasn’t, however, financially recovered from pandemic travel restrictions and still racked up losses of £139 million in the first three months of the year.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.