Rapid RT-PCR tests at Hyderabadâ€™s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) will now cost Rs 3400, which is Rs 500 cheaper than the Rs 3900 that customers were being charged until Wednesday, December 15. However, even with this slash in the price, the airport has among the highest rates for rapid RT-PCR tests in the country.
The Hyderabad airport has drawn flak earlier as well, for the same reason. Passengers were earlier charged Rs 4,500 for rapid RT-PCR tests at the RGIA, which was then reduced to Rs 3,900 and finally to Rs 3,400 on Thursday. The regular RT-PCR test will be available for Rs 750.
The RT-PCR tests at the airport are conducted by the company MapMyGenome, and Vice President Udbhav Relan told TNM that they are working to reduce the price of the tests. â€śWe have dropped the price from Rs 3,900 to Rs 3,400. We are continuing to work with the providers and all those in the supply chain to further reduce the prices. The talks are in place with the airport authority and the state to bring down the costs.â€ť
â€śThe cost of the material is expensive and there are several people required to ensure the samples collected are tested and results provided in the shortest possible time to the passengers. This makes the test expensive,â€ť he added
When TNM reached out to GMR, which manages the airport, to inquire whether the airport has a role in the pricing of the RT-PCR tests, a representative said that the matter is decided by MapMyGenome.
The cost of the test is determined based on several factors including whether the state government chooses to cap the rate, and how much the respective airport charges the vendor as commission for each test. When asked what percentage GMR charges MapMyGenome for the RT-PCR tests, the company refused to divulge details, citing a confidentiality clause.
The COVID-19 guidelines mandate all international passengers from at-risk countries to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival at the RGIA. While the results for rapid RT-PCR tests will be available in about an hour, results of regular RT-PCR tests are made available in four hours.
According to MapMyGenome, out of all the at-risk countries on the list, Hyderabad presently has only two direct flights from London. Hence, on an average around 1,000-2,000 RT-PCR tests are carried out at the Hyderabad airport every day.