Boston Logan Airport is setting up an in-house COVID-19 testing facility. The facility is being built by XpresCheck, the same firm behind New York’s new facilities. Airport testing is becoming more popular globally, with hopes that it will allow travelers to shorten or skip quarantines.
Boston Logan is set to get a new testing facility as soon as next month. Photo: Getty Images
New testing facility
According to Boston.com, Logan Airport will begin offering COVID-19 tests as soon as next month. Construction is already underway in Terminal E, with tests available to both domestic and international passengers after security or on arrival in November.
The new facility will have seven testing rooms and the capacity to administer over 400 tests a day. While this will help travelers, the facility could get overwhelmed quickly if testing picks up. Over 22,000 passengers arrived and departed Boston Logan every day in August, which means around 2% of travelers can be tested daily.
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While airport testing is convenient, it doesn’t come cheap. XpresCheck, the operators, will offer three types of tests: the RT-PCR, a blood antibody test, and a rapid molecular test. The RT-PCR, the gold standard of testing, and the antibody test will cost $75. However, the rapid molecular test, which can give results in 15 minutes, will cost a whopping $200. While the former two could be covered by insurance, the faster test will not.
Airport testing springing up
Airport testing in the US has been quickly picking up in the last few weeks. Tampa Airport became the first to offer tests in the US less than a fortnight ago. Since then, both JFK and Newark have also begun offering rapid COVID-19 tests and so has Bradley International in Connecticut.
Testing is being seen as the key to restarting travel, which has been bolstered by Hawaii’s new testing requirements. Destinations around the world now require pre-arrival testing and airports are the most convenient place to get such a test.
Is testing really the key?
Depending on the sensitivity of the test, it may miss lower loads of coronavirus RNA, giving a false negative result. More sensitive testing, such as the highly accurate RT-PCR, requires hours to process, dashing hopes for a quick result. This means quick and easy testing is unlikely to replace quarantines, for now.
However, new rapid tests are becoming accurate, with new tests being approved. In the coming weeks and months, we could reach a point where there are enough of these tests out there to truly relax quarantines.
Pre-flight testing does still give passengers confidence while traveling and is a requirement in many places, but it is not the solution everyone is seeking just yet.
What do you think about airport testing? Should more US airports invest in this? Would you take a test at the airport? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!