BENGALURU: The mandatory Covid-19 tests which passengers from high-risk countries need to undergo at the Kempegowda International Airport have been simplified from Friday. The Air Suvidha portal of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Union Health and Family Welfare Department, has allowed for online payment of the test fee from the originating airport itself.
The state’s Covid-19 Nodal Officer for Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), C Shikha told TNIE, “The RT-PCR test pre-booking link has been integrated with the Air Suvidha portal. Passengers can make the payment at the boarding airport itself through the portal.” When the application is successfully submitted by the passenger, the booking link gets displayed on the final page, she added.
Flyers, particularly on international routes, face payment issues when they land. “There may be network issues when trying to pay through phones or debit cards. By ensuring that they can pay from the departing country, we are making the process very simple for them,” she said.
Nearly 90% of flyers opt for the rapid or express RT-PCR test, which costs Rs 3,000 and gives results within an hour. A regular test costs Rs 500 and it takes between 5 and 6 hours for the results to come through. The BIAL has also improved wi-fi connectivity at the airport, she said.
In another big relief for flyers arriving from Friday, 50 new Abbott ID machines for express RT-PCR arrived at the airport. H Gautam, General Manager of Auriga Research Centre, which conducts Covid tests at the airport, said,”We started with seven machines and got three the following day. With the 50 that arrived on Friday, we now have 60 machines to carry out the Rapid test. We have also increased our manpower at the centre.”
BIAL to bear cost of random testing
The BIAL has decided to bear the cost of random tests on 2% of visitors from other countries (not at high risk), Shikha said. A BIAL spokesperson confirmed this saying, “Starting Friday, we will bear the costs for flyers selected randomly to undergo Covid tests.” The move to make passengers bear the cost had generated angry responses from flyers on social media.