Tui AG (LON:TUI) is to offer Covid-19 tests for £20 to passengers travelling to countries on the UK’s Green List, the travel firm announced today.
The German giant has partnered with approved kit provider Chromonics to provide the cut-price test and said passengers can apply for a test package from 10 May once they have booked their flight.
The UK government will announce the categories in which countries are rated tomorrow, but indications so far are that only a handful will be green-lighted and not the most popular holiday destinations.
Britain is using a traffic light system of red, amber and green to categorise countries according to the perceived Covid-19 risk of coronavirus, health infrastructure, vaccination programmes and other measures.
Israel, Iceland, Portugal, Malta and Gibraltar have been widely reported as being on the green list, which means travellers have to be tested but do not have to quarantine on arrival or when they return.
People travelling to amber-rated countries, which are likely to include France Italy and Spain, will have to self-isolate for ten days when they come back unless they return a negative test after five days.
Travellers to countries on the red list have to spend ten days in a quarantine hotel when they return and take tests pre-departure and on day 2 and eight following their arrival back in the UK.
Airlines criticised the plan again overnight saying it was illogical to make people who have been fully vaccinated take a test and said that the plan means flights are resuming in name only.
The group, which included the chief executives of Jet2, British Airways and Easyjet accused the government of being too cautious.
“Instead of taking advantage of the success of the vaccine programme, the Government risks closing the UK off from the rest of the world,” they said in the open letter.
Airlines have also been critical of the cost of testing, which for some PCR tests starts at £120.
Tui added that passengers flying to amber-rated countries would pay £50 per person for the required pre-departure lateral flow test (instant) and two PCR tests (sent to laboratory) upon return.
Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, has cut the price of test kits to £60 for UK-based customers, while British Airways announced a £33 cost after agreeing on a deal with test kit group Qured.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK & Ireland, said: “We have always believed that cost-effective testing solutions, as well as maximum flexibility, will make travel a possibility this summer and beyond.
“Also, should testing requirements change between purchase and travel, for example if an amber package is purchased and the destination moves on to the green list, we’ll simply refund the difference.”