ISRAEL. Israel Airports Authority has issued a tender for the operation of a COVID-19 testing laboratory at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport. The laboratory will be a key element in a national plan, set for publication by 16 August, through which the Israeli government is preparing to “open the sky”.
The tender includes the possibility of expanding the COVID-19 testing services to Israel’s second-busiest airport, Ramon, and to all border crossings that are managed by the Israel Airports Authority.
With concerns over COVID-19 continuing, the laboratory will be a major step forward in a country where foreign nationals are currently not permitted to enter unless they are citizens or residents of Israel.
Israel Airports Authority said it will not charge a concession fee for the use of the laboratory space in order to keep passenger costs down. The tender, however, includes a competitive clause on the price that can be charged to the passenger for the inbound and outbound tests.
In addition to setting up the main laboratory, the tender’s winning bidder will be obliged to establish “drive-in” testing stations, which will be situated next to Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion.
Under the terms of the tender, the COVID-19 laboratory service provider at the airport will be contracted to perform tests on no fewer than 800 passengers per hour, using methods in accordance with the testing protocol of the Israel Ministry of Health. The successful bidder must commit to return test results to the passenger within 14 hours from the time of sampling.
Passengers going abroad must arrive for coronavirus tests at least 72 hours before their flights. This will allow for samples to be taken in accordance with the various COVID-19 regulations in place in different foreign countries.
Meanwhile, passengers entering Israel via Ben Gurion will be tested and processed through the same laboratory. The operator will undertake to provide test results within 14 hours to the incoming passenger.
The initial contract runs for three years, with a two-year extension option. The Israel Airports Authority said that in a situation where the demand for COVID-19 testing decreases (for example when a vaccine is in place), the parties will be entitled to terminate the engagement.
The winner of the tender will have a maximum of 45 days to establish the COVID-19 testing system and facility after signing the contract.
Israel Minister of Transport and Road Safety, Brigadier General (Res.) Miri Regev said: “We are preparing to carry out the COVID-19 tests at Ben Gurion International Airport subject to the final outline approval by the Health Minister Mr Yuli Edelstein and in cooperation with Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Gabi Ashkenazi.
“There is no doubt that Israeli aviation must return to operation. I received the green light from the Prime Minister, and we are continuing our preparations for operating Israeli aviation.”
As of today, Israel had recorded a total of 79,559 coronavirus cases and the death toll from COVID-19 stood at 576.
Bids for the tender close on 31 August. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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