EasyJet (EZJ.L) said it will give passengers access to cheaper and easier testing options for as low as £75 ($100) via partnerships with two firms, in a bid to encourage travel amid the coronavirus pandemic. The airline’s shares ticked 3.7% lower Monday afternoon.
“EasyJet and easyJet holidays have today announced partnerships with two testing firms Confirm Testing and City Doc which means our customers can get access to convenient and affordable testing when it is required for entry into countries across its network,” the company said.
The news comes after the government announced last week it is relaxing its quarantine rules for countries not listed on the travel corridor. It said passengers arriving into England will be able to reduce mandatory self-isolation by up to a week or more by getting themselves tested for COVID-19, but they would have to get this done privately and bear the full cost.
EasyJet’s preferential prices can be accessed using a unique code provided when customers book through the easyJet.com and easyJet.com/holidays sites.
Available from “later this week,” customers will have access to a reduced rate of £75 per home test with Confirm Testing. If they use services from CityDoc they can get a home test for £100 or pay £150 for an in-clinic test.
Both companies aim to provide results within 48 hours of the test being returned to them.
Confirm Testing is managed via Royal Mail and CityDoc offer a courier service.
EasyJet said it is also working to identify suppliers in Europe to be able to provide this across its network.
Testing has become a requirement for entry for a number of easyJet’s key destinations like Germany, Spain and Italy and it said this partnership is focused on helping customers get their required test ahead of travel more conveniently and at more affordable rates.
CEO Johan Lundgren said the move was “a key step towards travel getting back to normal” but stressed the importance vaccines will play in achieving this.
He said easyJet is also pushing for “testing the efficacy of rapid testing technologies… which could be undertaken on departure at the airport and for further reducing quarantine, making it easier and less onerous for people to travel.”
The company also said passengers traveling via Gatwick Airport in London can also make use of its £60 tests via ExpressTest.
The travel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Travel stocks slipped on Monday. British Airways owner IAG (IAG.L) was down 1.2% in afternoon trade, while Premier Inn owner Whitbread (WTB.L) was off 1%.
And EasyJet earlier this month posted the first annual pre-tax loss in its 25-year history. It posted a pre-tax loss of £1.27bn in its reporting year to September. That contrasted with a year-earlier profit of £430m.
It also announced that the new lockdown in England has forced it to scale back flying capacity, which had already been reduced by similar measures taken in France and Germany.
The budget airline said that it would now fly no more than 20% of capacity for the rest of the year.
But on a positive note, last week it said it saw a 200% increase in searches for both flights and holidays over the Christmas period as the UK government eases travel restrictions.
Domestic bookings were up “significantly” week on week as customers focus on spending time with friends and family, the company had said.
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