Rapid test exorbitantly priced, say flyers

Rate reduction will be possible only when new kit gets nod: officials

Passengers travelling to West Asia by flight from Chennai have a new concern — they have to pay ₹4,000 for the Rapid RT-PCR test at the airport.

A few weeks ago, airport authorities introduced this facility as travellers bound for West Asia had to be in possession of an RT-PCR negative result from test done six hours prior to their departure. Until a few days ago, the time was even shorter. It was four hours before the flight. The rapid RT-PCR test gives the results within 30 minutes.

Passengers are upset that they have to spend so much for a test in addition to the ticket cost. A one-way fare on Chennai-Dubai flight is ₹8,500 to ₹13,000 depending on the day and time of the flight.

Many have taken to social media platforms urging the authorities to bring down the cost of this test.

Ashokan S, a passenger tweeted: “#HLL rapid pcr test cost at chennai airport fixed very high ie 4,000/head, whereas the original equipment cost ranges from 500 to 1,250, request you to fix the same as 900.”

Mohamed Ismail, another passenger, said, “Airports Authority of India, please look into the pricing of RT-PCR test in Chennai Airport it is Rs. 4,000 whereas in small Trichy Airport it is Rs. 1,575 only. As the high volume of passengers undergoing tests in Chennai Airport, it should be less than the Trichy Airport. Please reduce.”

Officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said they were keen on reducing the cost. “The pricing factor depends on the kit used for the test; the lab has got approval from the government and AAI for this kit and hence it is ₹4,000. If they get a new kit approved, then the cost can be definitely reduced,” an official said.

The fees for RT-PCR test whose result will come within four to seven hours is ₹900.

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