Covid test requirements for travel: where are Manchester Airport test centres and how much does it cost?

The government has tightened rules on international travel in a bid to limit the spread of the Omicron variant in the UK.

Travel rules for holidaymakers returning to the UK will be made stricter from tomorrow (Tuesday 7 December), the government has confirmed.

From 4am tomorrow, anyone travelling to the UK from a country not on the red list will need to take a pre-departure test a maximum of 48 hours before travel, regardless of their vaccination status. The rule applies to anyone aged 12 and above, with travellers able to take either a rapid lateral flow test or a PCR test, which must be negative.

This pre-departure test is in addition to proof of a negative PCR test which must be taken on or before day two after arrival.

Meanwhile, travellers from any of the 11 African countries currently on the red list will have to quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days.

Travellers are strongly advised to consult the Government’s website to check their own individual testing requirements ahead of travelling, whether they are arriving into or leaving the UK. Destinations and vaccination status can affect testing requirements.

Are there testing facilities for travellers at Manchester Airport?

For those looking to get a PCR test on arrival at Manchester Airport, two private firms - Collinson and Randox - currently offer facilities on site. Travellers are not allowed to use NHS facilities for these tests.

Both firms offer a drive-through option for travellers with vehicles and a walk-through for those on foot. Collinson has a drive-through centre at Runger Lane and a walk-through facility at the airport train station at Terminal 3. Randox has a drive-through centre at JetParks on Shadowmoss Road, Wythenshawe, and a walk-through in Terminal 2.

Location of Covid test centres at Manchester Airport Credit: Manchester Airport

Collinson charges £52.50 for a day-two RT PCR test. Randox charges £55 for a day-two RT PCR test (with next-day results). Travellers should check Manchester Airport’s Covid-19 testing information pages on its website here ahead of travelling, to check requirements and prices for specific tests and to book slots.

Alternatively, you can do a day-two PCR test at home in the UK instead, provided that:

  • you ensure you use a government-approved provider
  • book the PCR test ahead of travel
  • factor in that PCR tests at home can only be done Monday to Friday
  • follow the company instructions to the letter.

Find a Government-approved provider on the Government website here.

Additionally, both Collinson and Randox also offer PCR tests at their Manchester Airport sites for departuring passengers and for unvaccinated people needing day-eight tests or quarantined people seeking test-to-release tests, with varying costs depending on how soon you need the results back.

What have airport bosses said about the new test requirements coming in on Tuesday?

Charlie Cornish, Manchester Airport group CEO, said: “We understand the need to respond quickly to the emergence of new variants where there is a substantial threat to public health.

“But, yet again, the Government has chosen not to share data and evidence to support its actions.

Manchester airport Credit: Shutterstock

“Uncertainty, and a lack of transparency on decision-making, is destroying consumer confidence in travel and will hold back the recovery of one of the UK’s most important industries.

“There continues to be no recognition from the Government or the Opposition of the impact these restrictions will have on our sector, and the urgent need for support while we continue to be prevented from operating normally.”

The government has said the new measures are temporary and precautionary and will be reviwed on 20 December.