Hotelier rolling out overnight pre-flight Covid testing

Billionaire hotelier Surinder Arora is rolling out overnight pre-flight Covid testing across his airport hotels to help drive a recovery in the aviation industry. 

The tests are now being offered at the five-star Sofitel at Heathrow, which connects to Terminal 5, and will be extended to the Arora Group’s hotels at Gatwick and Stansted within weeks. 

Its ‘Test & Rest’ programme, run in partnership with biotech firm Halo, costs from £179 at the Sofitel and includes a test plus bed and breakfast. 

Fast-track: The 'Test & Rest' programme costs from £179 at the Sofitel and includes a test plus bed and breakfast

Fast-track: The 'Test & Rest' programme costs from £179 at the Sofitel and includes a test plus bed and breakfast

Fast-track: The ‘Test & Rest’ programme costs from £179 at the Sofitel and includes a test plus bed and breakfast

After checking in, guests will download the Halo app and self-administer the test. The sample will be couriered to a lab at Imperial College in West London for processing overnight. Guests will receive the results, plus a certificate, via the app before they fly the following morning. 

The Arora Group is using ‘gold-standard’ PCR saliva tests certified by Public Health England, which are accepted more widely than the one-hour pre-departure tests launched last week at Heathrow. 

Around 15 countries including Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, the Bahamas and Bermuda require a negative result from a PCR test carried out in a lab before departure. 

The Heathrow tests in Terminals 2 and 5, run by Swissport and Collinson, are currently only accepted for passengers flying from the UK to Hong Kong and there is confusion over whether Italy will agree to accept the results. 

Arora said: ‘There is a long way to go before mass acceptance of the fast tests.’ 

He added: ‘Our beloved hospitality, airline and the wider tourism industry have been devastated by the pandemic and we felt the need to do something to give both business and leisure travellers the confidence to travel.’

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