UK PCR tests cost double compared to Europe, research reveals

The ABTA and AOA have urged the government to look into the testing fee as it could potentially be harmful for the recovery of aviation

Pre-departure PCR testing in a selection of European countries has been found to cost less than half that of identical tests in the UK, research by ABTA- The Travel Association and the Airport Operators Association (AOA) reveals.

Travellers returning from any destination – including the lowest risk countries – are now required to take a COVID-19 test after two days post arrival.

In the UK, a pre-departure PCR test costs a traveller £128 on average. However, similar kits in eight other key locations cost half as much, averaging at a price of just under £62.

Heathrow Airport
Photo London Heathrow Airport 

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, believes that travel “should be as unrestricted as possible”.

“The requirement for a PCR test when you arrive back from a green list country could prove a cost-barrier for many people - we welcome the fact that the Government commits to engaging with industry on this issue,” he added.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the AOA, also commented on the high cost within the UK, stating that “With the Government offering free rapid tests domestically, it is vital that business travellers and holidaymakers can make use of these for green-listed countries upon their return. The Government should also work to reduce, if not eliminate, the cost for pre-departure tests in the UK.

“Without a cost-effective solution like this, a summer holiday will be out of reach for many and damage an already badly hit aviation and travel industry even further.”

Due to the costly price of this standard requirement within the UK, people leaving the country and entering a European destination will pay approximately £306 for all the testing needed to travel, according to the two associations. This includes the test before departure, another when leaving a European country and a post arrival test when reaching the UK.

The ABTA and AOA have advised the government that those who have been vaccinated should be exempt from testing when travelling to green listed countries.