Israel opens new corona testing at Ben Gurion Airport

In bid to get air travel moving again, government installs new testing stations for air travelers.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israel’s Ministry of Transport has installed coronavirus testing stations at Ben Gurion International Airport that will provide all Israelis who want to fly abroad access to quick virus tests before their flight, Ynet reported Sunday.

The prices are expected to be the cheapest in Israel at 135 shekels ($40) for a quick test that gives results in four hours and 45 shekels ($13.50) for a regular check that takes 14 hours.

The drive-in complex will also allow in-vehicle inspections for those who pre-register.

The coronavirus test laboratory is being operated by a new company called Check2Fly with testing developed jointly by Rambam Hospital in Haifa and the Omega Institute for Modern Learning based in the nearby city of Petah Tikvah.

Omega will set up one testing center inside the international flights terminal building for incoming passengers as well as a drive-through testing center at the airport for those who need to be tested before leaving the country.

The Ministry of Health has not yet finally approved the new installation but approval is expected in the coming days, Ynet reported. Even without the approval, an official opening ceremony is scheduled for Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Miri Regev.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Israel Airports Authority has demanded on-site airport testing facilities, which exist in other airports around the world, but the Ben Gurion laboratory was only approved last month.

Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s main air artery to the world, has been operating at bare bones capacity since it was almost entirely shut down in March. Under Israel’s lockdown exit strategy, first announced a month ago, air travel would gradually resume, but only to and from countries considered to be “green,” meaning those with low coronavirus infection rates.

Earlier this year, Israel’s El Al national airline was on the verge of shutting down, but was rescued in a government-assisted private takeover that saved the airline from bankruptcy but saw several thousand employees lose their jobs as the world aviation crisis continues.