Story at a glance

  • The pilot program will make both rapid antigen and polymerase chain reaction tests available in the main terminal.
  • The rapid test costs $57 and the PCR swab is offered at $125.
  • The antigen test can produce results in 15 minutes, while the PCR test takes about 48 hours.

Tampa International Airport will soon become the first airport in the U.S. to offer COVID-19 tests for all departing and arriving passengers, the airport announced on Tuesday. 

A trial testing program at the airport will begin on Oct. 1 and offer both the rapid antigen test and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to ticketed passengers who are flying or have flown within three days. 


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The rapid test will cost $57 and the PCR swab costs $125. The two tests will be offered daily on a walk-in basis from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October. Passengers can pay with a credit card and apply for reimbursement through their insurance company. 

The antigen test could produce results within 15 minutes, but has a higher likelihood of a false negative. 

The PCR tests can turnaround results within 48 hours. Passengers departing the airport to areas requiring negative PCR tests are advised to take the test three days before departure. 

“As a gateway to the West Coast of Florida with a growing market for international travel, Tampa International Airport has a responsibility to explore safe, rapid and affordable ways to keep our travelers, their destinations and our community as safe and healthy as possible,” Joseph Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport, said in a statement. 

The pilot program’s testing site, which is run by BayCare, will be located in the main terminal near the Airside F Shuttle. 

The news comes as Florida, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus, is set to receive 6.4 million rapid tests from the federal government over the coming weeks to help the state protect nursing home residents and to test schoolchildren.


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Published on Sep 29, 2020