Despite the need to keep people safe, excessive costs of tests could deter many travellers from going abroad impact the travel industry.
Travellers are reportedly paying twice as much for PCR tests in the UK as they do in much of Europe. Airlines have brought to question the competitiveness of the price for travel and warned that high costs could seriously impact the industry.
Some industry sources are deeply sceptical about testing firms in the UK whom they believe are “profiteering”.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps threatened to remove high-charging firms from the government-approved list.
“I think that the cost should be cheaper for those private tests. I’ll be driving that down … and potentially even removing providers if they’re not playing ball because I don’t want to see people being ripped off,” Mr Shapps said.
On Friday, the government`s ‘global travel taskforce’ published that individuals will now be required to have three PCR tests to go on vacation even in the safest, “green-light” states as travel is set to open from 17 May.
In order to travel to a green-listed European destination an individual will have to spend £306 in testing alone: comprising a UK pre-departure test, a second abroad at the end of a holiday, and a final test in the UK on return.
Meanwhile, travellers across other European countries like Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain only spend £62 for PCR tests.
In the wake of suspicion of “profiteering”, Covid testing firms said that more than half of their price went to the laboratories, and cited high costs and uncertainty in the market.
David Evans, a joint chief executive of Collinson, which runs testing facilities at Heathrow and other major airports said “I certainly don’t look at our forecasts and think we’re profiteering, far from that.
“If we see high volumes we will get economies of scale and can look at reducing the price. Unfortunately, the government has changed its mind so many times we have had to redevelop our systems, our marketing, our websites – it all builds up to more expense.