Covid testing at Ben Gurion changes hands, prices rise

Ben Gurion Airport  Tamar Matsafi

Pangea will take over PCR tests for departing passengers at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport from November 1.

From tomorrow, November 1, Omega Company (Check2Fly) will give way to Pangea, which will take over operation of the PCR testing for Covid-19 at Ben Gurion Airport.

The switch follows a legal battle that began when Omega, together with Rambam Hospital, won an Israel Airports Authority tender to operate testing for departing and arriving passengers. Testing for arriving passengers is currently operated by Femi Premium, which replaced Omega a few months ago after the court disqualified the latter's tender win.

Since then, Omega has been left with the testing for departing passengers, and that will now be transferred to Pangea.

Omega's lab will continue to operate at Ben Gurion Airport's Terminal 1 until November 21, and will operate in parallel to Pangea's labs for three weeks. This Wednesday, Omega will open an additional testing station, at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, and it will operate from Sunday to Friday. A third lab will later be opened at Ramat Hahayal in Tel Aviv. At this stage, these Omega labs are offering rapid tests only.

Price hike

Passengers will pay more. Instead of NIS 40, which is what Omega charges for a regular test, the results of which are received within fourteen hours, Pangea will charge NIS 89. The price of a rapid test, the result of which is received within four hours, will rise from NIS 120 to NIS 149.

The price of a test at Ben Gurion Airport will thus become high in comparison with tests offered by others such as SuperPharm, which charges NIS 119, and NIS 89 for holders of its LifeStyle credit card, or the Be pharmacy chain, which charges NIS 139, or NIS 115 for members of the Shufersal customer club.

Omega itself charges NIS 135 at the testing station it recently opened at the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv for a rapid test with a result within four hours.

Rami Levy's Good Pharm chain will shortly launch its own testing network. Tests are also performed at the Bikur Rofe chain of clinics, which charges NIS 99. Most of the private bodies offering tests deliver results within 24 hours.

The requirement to undergo a test for Covid-19 before taking a flight out of Israel depends on the destination country. All passengers flying to the US are required to undergo testing, but not those flying to France, for example. Countries change their policies frequently. Last week, for example, Italy decided to impose a testing requirement for Israeli arrivals from one day to the next.

It is recommended, however, to undergo a test in any event, if only to avoid the embarrassment of being found positive in the test carried out overseas before returning to Israel. Israel requires all arriving passengers to have undergone a test within 72 hours of the flight to Israel. Tourists coming to Israel under the scheme for incoming tourists that will apply from November 1 will also have to undergo testing before they return as required by their home countries.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 31, 2021.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.

Ben Gurion Airport  Tamar Matsafi
Ben Gurion Airport Tamar Matsafi
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