Friday 10 December 2021 8:56 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON Dec 10: With international airports across India adhering to the government’s revised Covid guidelines in the wake of the Omicron variant, passengers from countries considered “at-risk” are required to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test upon arrival, including those fully vaccinated.
The new rules have led to long queues and chaos at airports in Kochi, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, where incoming foreign passengers had to line up (and pay) for Covid tests.
Passengers opting for the antigen test had to wait for 2.5 to three hours, while those taking the PCR test had to spend nearly six hours. This was in addition to completing customs and immigration formalities.
Amid these rules, the rates of the RT-PCR test, long queues, crowding and potential delays have been major concerns for international travellers, with some airports charging over Rs 3,000 for a rapid test.
There have been complaints of high rates being charged by the airport for these tests in the past. However, a comparison of rates charged by different airports shows Kerala airports charge the least.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has written to all regional heads that the revenue share percentage for RT-PCR and Rapid RT-PCR tests at airports should be withdrawn.
Under the present arrangement, a percentage of the fee charged by laboratories that undertake tests at airports is shared with the agency that runs the airport. The letter said that the benefit is to be passed on to passengers by reducing the cost of the tests.
Here are the rates of RT-PCR tests across airports in India as of 10th December 2021.
The Mumbai International Airport rate of a rapid PCR test is Rs3,900 per test and the results are provided in 1-2 hours. A normal RT-PCR test costs Rs 500 and the results are provided in 8 hours
The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi charges Rs500 for RT-PCR Test and results will be issued between 6 to 8 hours. For a Rapid PCR Test it costs Rs3,500 and results provided between 60 and 90 minutes.
At Chennai International Airport passengers can get Rapid PCR results in 30 minutes for Rs2,900. The rate of a normal RT-PCR tests costs Rs600 and results issued between five and six hours.
At the Bengaluru airport the Rapid Antigen test (RT-PCR) costs Rs3,000 and the waiting time for result is 1 hour. For a normal RT-PCR the cost is Rs500 and the waiting time for result is 6 hours.
The Kolkata International Airport charges Rs 700 for a normal RT-PCR test and Rs 3,600 for a rapid PCR test. The time for results for both the tests is six hours and one hour, respectively.
According to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport’s website, a rapid PCR test will cost a passenger Rs 2,700 with results issued in 1 hour. For a routine RT-PCR test it costs Rs400 with results in 8-10 hours.
At the Kochi airport the results of the RTPCR test could be delivered in 5 hours for Rs500 whereas the result of Rapid PCR will be delivered in 30 minutes for Rs 2,490.
The Calicut International Airport on Tuesday announced that it has slashed the rates of a rapid PCR test to Rs1,580.
The above rates may vary or may be changed. Passengers are advised to follow the latest changes put in place by the various airports. This is a comparative analysis based on information available as of 10th December 2021.
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