covid-19 testing

The varying costs of a PCR test at airports around the world


by Skytrax: London, UK

Having a negative COVID-19 test has become a near-universal requirement for any type of international travel in 2021, and research conducted by Skytrax found a $396 USD price difference between the highest and lowest costs for standard PCR testing at various airports around the world.

Whilst many airports do not offer any on-site PCR testing, the study covered the published fees of 77 airports that provide testing services for departing passengers and covers airports in Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America.

It is important to note that in some countries the testing rate is fixed by the national government and may be subsidised. Similarly, there is a varied policy on taxation of testing, and in the UK, for example, 20% of the fee charged is the government VAT tax.

Kansai International Airport in Japan has the highest pricing with a standard processing fee of $404 USD, with the lowest cost being for domestic departing customers travelling from Mumbai Airport who can access PCR testing for just $8 USD.

At the higher end of PCR test costs, most of the airports are in developed markets where factors such as infrastructure, staff, and laboratory costs are high, and some testing providers also report difficulty in achieving the necessary economies of scale due to the restrictions placed on international travel, where testing is generally needed.

In Europe, Riga Airport was the cheapest at $44, with many German airports charging around $80, and in the UK, the airport PCR tests vary between $82 and $135.  Many US airports do not currently offer on-site PCR test facilities, but amongst those that do, Ft Lauderdale Airport is the cheapest at $106, through to San Francisco International Airport charging $261.

In assessing the price versus processing times, Russian airports offer the most passenger-friendly testing regime with pricing between $22 and $30 for standard processing and results frequently delivered within 12-hours. Moscow Sheremetyevo offers an express PCR test for $36 with the result given in under 2 hours which is amongst the best overall service available.

While the airport testing infrastructure has developed significantly in the last 6 months, the pricing, speed, and convenience of the process in most countries are likely to remain a substantial deterrent to large scale international travel for many customers.

Skytrax continue to see a lack of global cohesion in travel testing. Apart from the substantial price differential between the highest and lowest PCR test costs, standard processing times are highly variable, and the required timeframe for results differs per country (eg. 24/48/72/96 hours) and even the terminology for test names can vary from country to country.

There is a catalogue of tests available (PCR, antigen, lateral flow, LAMP, Nucleic Acid Amplification) plus many others for which the requirements per country are yet to be standardised.


The study analysed the prices for a range of services involving regular and expedited processing times. Standard laboratory turnaround timings were mainly within a 24 to 72 hour period with some faster premium services being able to give results within 1 hour.

The research recorded the highest and lowest priced available services available from airport test providers. Some airports provide testing from a range of clinics, and for the purpose of this investigation, we did not include any VIP type services.

A smaller number of airports offer Rapid Antigen Tests, and of the selection available shown below, the costs range from a high end of USD $214 at Helsinki Vantaa Airport through to the cheapest of USD $2 being charged at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.


Rates shown: all the above PCR test costs are shown in US Dollars, and the local rates have been converted to US dollars using currency exchange rates on 15th April 2021.

Airport PCR Test cost summary in $ USD

Kansai 404
Helsinki 317
Stockholm 295
Tokyo Narita 275
San Francisco 261
Nagoya Centrair 256
New York JFK 179
Copenhagen 168
Zurich 162
Amsterdam 154
Munich 152
Chicago O’Hare 145
Luxembourg 142
Oslo 142
Warsaw 136
East Midlands 135
London City 135
London Luton 135
Manchester 135
London Stansted 135
Los Angeles 125
Singapore 120
Dublin 118
Vienna 118
Birmingham 110
Edinburgh 110
Glasgow 110
London Heathrow 110
Ft Lauderdale 106
Vilnius 95
Rome Fiumicino 83
Prague 83
Berlin 82
Cologne 82
Dusseldorf 82
Frankfurt 82
Hamburg 82
London Gatwick 82
Brussels 80
Bogota 77
Athens 71
Seoul Incheon 71
Malaga 69
Madrid 69
Palma Mallorca 69
Hong Kong 64
Denpasar Bali 61
Sao Paulo 61
Jakarta 54
Muscat 50
Riga 44
Cape Town 42
Johannesburg 42
Dubai 41
Kyiv Zhuliany 40
Kyiv Boryspil 40
Almaty 36
Istanbul 33
Moscow DME 30
Hurghada 30
Sharm El Sheikh 30
Rostov-on-Don 26
Koltsovo 24
Moscow SVO 23
Kuromoch 22
Nursultan 20
Tokyo Haneda 17
Minsk 15
Delhi 11
Mumbai 8

Rates shown: all the above PCR test costs are shown in US Dollars, and the local rates have been converted to US dollars using currency exchange rates on 15th April 2021.

Rapid Antigen Test cost summary in $ USD

Helsinki 214
New York JFK 149
Oslo 142
Chicago O’Hare 120
Stockholm 100
Luxembourg 94
Zurich 86
Amsterdam 82
East Midlands 81
London City 81
London Luton 81
Manchester 81
London Stansted 81
Los Angeles 80
Glasgow 75
Ft Lauderdale 74
Berlin 70
Cologne 70
Dusseldorf 70
Birmingham 69
Edinburgh 69
London Heathrow 69
London Gatwick 69
Dublin 58
Frankfurt 58
Hamburg 58
Munich 54
Panama City 50
Sao Paulo 49
Milan Malpensa 47
Warsaw 44
Vienna 42
Bologna 42
Vilnius 41
Bogota 41
Copenhagen 40
Prague 38
Moscow DME 35
Riga 29
Malaga 28
Madrid 28
Palma Mallorca 28
Mexico City 27
Kyiv Zhuliany 25
Kyiv Boryspil 25
Rome Fiumicino 23
Istanbul 21
Denpasar Bali 17
Tokyo Haneda 16
Minsk 16
Cancun 15
Seoul Incheon 14
Jakarta 14
Mumbai 2

Rates shown: all the above PCR test costs are shown in US Dollars, and the local rates have been converted to US dollars using currency exchange rates on 15th April 2021.

By Skytrax

Skytrax, the International air transport rating organisation, was established in 1989, and is based in London, UK. The World Airline and Airport Star Rating programme classifies airlines and airports by the quality of product and staff service standards.

Sign up for updates with the Skytrax Newsletter